T-50 fighter

United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is planning to commence state flight trials of the Russian Air Force’s T-50 multirole fighter aircraft in 2014, the company’s president Mikhail Pogosyan has revealed.

Speaking to reporters, Pogosyan was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying that the company is expecting to complete both the aircraft’s preliminary tests and start operational trials this year.

The flight testing programme will feature five flying prototypes, one static and one systems test airframe, while the first stage of trials is scheduled to be completed by 2015, according to Pogosyan.

The fifth aircraft is reportedly under development at Sukhoi’s manufacturing facility in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Khabarovsk Krai, Russia.

Manufactured as part of Moscow’s future aviation system for the tactical air force (PAK FA) programme, the fifth-generation Sukhoi T-50 jet fighter is scheduled to serve as a successor to the air force’s ageing MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker aircraft fleet.

Equipped with radar-evading stealth technology, the twin Saturn-Lyulka 117S turbofan engines-powered multirole fighter is designed to conduct supersonic flights at speeds of more than 2,000km/h and in-flight refuelling missions.

Capable of achieving a low radar visibility and heat signature, the 18,500kg aircraft features short take-off and landing capabilities, an advanced avionics suite, including an X-band active phased-array radar, and is expected to have a service life of approximately 30 to 35 years.

A total of four T-50 fighters have successfully completed flight trials since the initial test flight of the first prototype in January 2010.

Moscow plans to acquire around 60 production standard T-50 aircraft after 2015, while India is set to procure an advanced single or two-seat T-50-derived fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA).

Image: The Russian T-50 PAK FA fifth generation jet fighter during its flight. Photo: Courtesy of Maxim Maksimov/russianplanes.net.

Defence Technology