The secret kept by the UAC and Rostec regarding the new Russian military aircraft was short-lived. On Thursday, photographers who were on duty at Zhukovsky airport caught sight of the model still covered by black canvas being positioned to participate in the MAKS 2021 Air Show.
As previously thought, the aircraft is a single-engine fighter with stealth characteristics. It is not yet known whether the jet is just a mockup or a real aircraft, but it is possible to confirm a great conceptual similarity with the Lockheed Martin F-35.
The fuselage appears to be of low observation, with no horizontal stabilizers. One of the images shows an afterburner turbofan of unknown origin, but possibly some engine already used in other fighters like the Su-57, for cost savings.
The possible shape of the side air intakes is noteworthy. The canvas suggests they extend across the upper portion of the fuselage in a very forward position, in front of the cockpit.
The new fighter jet should measure about 16 m in lenght, again a size proportional to the F-35.
Russia has yet to reveal which design bureau is responsible for the fighter, but the aircraft is believed to be the work of Sukhoi. If this is confirmed, it will be a surprise since MiG has always been more used to designing smaller aircraft.
Apparently, we will know more about the Russian plane even before the opening of MAKS 2021.