The US Airforce’s fifth generation stealth fighter aircraft, the F-22 Raptor developed mostly by Lockheed Martin, became a part of the USAF fleet in 2005. The fighter jet is considered to be the best fighter jet in the world for its unprecedented capabilities of electronic warfare, signal intelligence, and ground attack. The F-22 was conceived during the cold war era and it is only now that Russia has announced a fighter jet with capabilities that could rival the famous Raptor.
Russian officials recently released the information about their newest fighter jet fleet, and they claim all the air forces of the world will be drooling over these. The Russian news agency TASS announced the news about the Sukhoi-57, the new fighter jet that begins testing next year. The news has been confirmed by the Aerospace Force Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Viktor Bondarev.
Bondarev talked to a TV channel saying, “The T-50 or the Su-57 plane is to be rolled out. It will start arriving for troops from next year. Pilots will be learning to operate it. The plan has got its name like a child after the birth. Every country probably wants planes such as this, and we have them”
Russian media gave a little more detail on the specification of Su-57 that will cruise at a top speed of 1,600 mph (2,575 kph) which is a little higher than the F-22 at 1,500 mph. The jets are intended to carry K-77M missiles, according to Newsweek. These missiles have a range of 125 miles, which beats the US AIM-120D Scorpion that goes no farther than 100 miles.
While Russians go around calling their fighter fleet the envy of others, not everyone is as impressed. “The Russians really like talking big, but the cash and technology just don’t seem to be there,” said Richard Aboulafia, the vice president of Teal Group, a defense market analysis firm. He added that the Russian government was incapable of funding projects like these on a long-term basis. The Russian military manufacturers claim these fighter jets are cheaper than the F-22 with cost below $156 million, but with its funding problems, the Russian Airforce may not have any more than 12 of Su-57s, despite the original order of 52 jets. At least that is what Aboulafia says, “They still need to find the cash to fund the development of the complete version of this aircraft. They’ve been trying for quite some time.”
Some even believe that the jet is ” next generation” in its name only and not in technology. IHS Janes inspected the aircraft at the Singapore Airshow 2016 and reported, “Russian industry has consistently referred to the Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA as a fifth-generation aircraft, but a careful look at the program reveals that this is an ‘in name only’ designation.”
The Russians are proud, but not everyone is convinced. The Russian Airforce still has a few months before the plane’s debut flight, and we can expect them to make adjustments for the problems that many visibly see.