Russian Air Force orders 12 Sukhoi Su-57 fighters
First stealth fighter to go into operation in 2019
The Russian government has ordered the first 12 units of the new Sukhoi Su-57 fighter, the first with stealth technology (also known as the fifth-generation). According to Russian media, the new aircraft will be produced at the “Yuri Gagarin” plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, in the far eastern part of the country, almost bordering China.
There will be 10 units manufactured in that first batch and will be delivered in 2019, according to Yuri Slyusar, president of UAC, a holding company that controls Sukhoi. The other two planes will come from the current test fleet. The Russian government already considers 2019 the year of commissioning of the Su-57 although it is common for this type of aircraft to undergo extensive testing before being considered under operational conditions.
Russia, however, seems to skip a few stages in development, which was rather slow and had problems with engines designed for it, for example, that only now equip one of the planes. Even as prototypes, two Su-57s were sent to Syria to undergo real-life evaluation.
One of the most advanced fighters in the world
The arrival of the Su-57 to the Russian Air Force will take place almost 14 years after its main American opponent, the F-22 Raptor. The world’s first 5th generation fighter, the Lockheed Martin jet had a long development and a very high cost of about $ 150 million per unit – only 187 aircraft were produced for the US Air Force.
The price of Su-57 is unknown, however, it is likely that the Russian jet will not be as complex when its competitor although not less lethal. The fighter will debut new weapons such as the subsonic Kh-59Mk2 subsonic air-to-ground missile capable of reaching a target about 300 km away – it is transported in its internal weapon compartment. For the Russian Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko is the “right choice” and “incomparable” with the F-35, the newest American stealth fighter.
It is expected that the Russian government will extend the order soon in order to have a more significant number of Su-57 in its fleet. For UAC, Sukhoi can also be an export opportunity. India is interested in the design of this version.