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Russia’s Sukhoi Su-57 Stealth Fighter: A Threat by 2028?

Russia's Su-57 Stealth Fighter.
Russia's Su-57 Stealth Fighter. Image: Creative Commons.

The Russian Aerospace Force will be getting some fresh aircraft in the coming years. A total of seventy-six Su-57 fighters will be supplied by 2028, with twenty-two of the aircraft arriving by late 2024. The Russian Armed Forces will also receive ninety-four aircraft and helicopters before 2025 and ahead of schedule.

“With regard to aircraft, the early deliveries of 94 planes and helicopters are envisaged by the end of 2024, including 22 Su-57 fighters, whose number will grow to 76 by 2028,” said Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the ministry’s enlarged board meeting on Monday, according to a report from Tass.

Shoigu’s statement follows the head of the state tech corporation Rostec Sergei Chemezov announcement earlier this month that the first serial-produced Su-57 fighter with the first-stage engine would be delivered to Russia’s Aerospace Force by late 2020. Additionally, Chemezov added that the first Su-57s with the advanced second-stage engine would be assembled in 2022.

“In the near future, literally before the end of the year, we should deliver a serial-produced aircraft with the first-stage engine,” Chemezov told reporters on Dec. 7. “It complies with all of the characteristics required of the fifth-generation aircraft.”

The Rostec chief executive also stated that ten aircraft from the trial batch had functioned successfully, and as a result, the delivery of the seventy-six Su-57 stealth fighter aircraft was well underway.

Su-57 in 2011

Su-57 in 2011

Russia’s Fifth Generation Fighter

The Sukhoi Su-57 is Russia’s fifth-generation multirole fighter, and it was developed for air superiority and attack operations and can take on all types of air, ground, and naval targets. The single-seat, twin-engine fighter jet is also the first Russian aircraft to feature stealth technology, including the broad use of composite materials and aerodynamic configuration, which ensures a low level of radar and infrared signature. The Su-57 is also capable of developing supersonic cruising speed.

The fighter is furnished with the most advanced on board radio-electronic equipment, including a powerful onboard computer, which has been described as an “electronic second pilot,” the radar system spread across its body and some other innovations, in particular, armament placed inside its fuselage.

The Su-57 stealth fighter took to the skies for the first time on January 29, 2010.

The fifth-generation aircraft has two large internal weapons bays arranged in tandem, which run nearly the entire useable length of the aircraft. Each of the bays can carry up to four K-77M beyond visual range radar-guided missiles. Compared to earlier versions of the K-77 (NATO nickname: AA-12 Archer) the K-77M missile has a larger body and active electronically-scanned array radar seeker, allowing it to engage highly agile targets at ranges of up to 100 miles. The aircraft also stores a pair of K-74M2 short-range infrared-guided missiles in underwing fairings.

While Russia has reportedly tested the aircraft in combat conditions in Syria, it remains unclear exactly how the Su-57 was employed.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.

Peter Suciu
Written By

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.

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