T-50 AESA radar

Sukhoi is conducting test flights on the Russian Air Force’s fifth generation T-50 multi-role fighter jet, in a bid to evaluate the performance of its new onboard X-band active phased array radar system.

Developed by Tikhomirov Scientific Research Institute of Instrument Design (NIIP), the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar possesses an extended target acquisition range and offers electronic countermeasures capabilities.

According to RIA Novosti, the new radar system has already been integrated into a third T-50 prototype, where it demonstrated a stable and effective performance, equivalent to most operational advanced radar systems.

Located at the front and sides of the aircraft, the radar is capable of simultaneous operation in air-to-air and air-to-ground modes, enabling the aircraft to attack multiple targets.

Developed under Moscow’s Future Aviation System for Tactical Air Force (PAK FA) programme, the Sukhoi T-50 is a twin-engine jet fighter that will be the successor to Russia’s fleet of MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker aircraft.

Equipped with radar-evading stealth technology, the multirole fighter aircraft is designed to conduct supersonic flights at speeds of over 2,000km/h and in-flight refuelling missions.

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Powered by two Saturn-Lyulka 117S turbofan engines, the 18,500kg aircraft also features short take-off and landing capabilities, and is capable of achieving a low radar visibility and heat signature.

Conducting its initial flight in January 2010, three prototypes of the T-50 have undergone flight tests, while the fourth is expected to undergo testing later this year.

The aircraft is expected to enter operational service with the air force in 2015 as the country’s first new warplane since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Image: The Sukhoi T-50 fighter aircraft’s AESA radar being displayed during the 2009 MAKS airshow. Photo: courtesy of Allocer.