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Stealth Fighter Cage Match: Russia’s Su-57 vs. America’s F-22 Raptor (Who Wins?)

F-22 Raptor
U.S. Air Force Maj. Paul Lopez, F-22 Demo Team commander, performers aerial maneuvers July 14, 2019, at the “Mission Over Malmstrom” open house event on Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The team flies at airshows around the globe, performing maneuvers that demonstrate the capabilities of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft. The two-day event, featured performances by aerial demonstration teams, flyovers, and static displays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob M. Thompson)

How does Russia’s Sukhoi Su-57 (NATO reporting name “Felon”) stack up to the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor?

Both are “fifth-generation” combat aircraft that utilize advanced avionics, stealth technology, low-probability-of-intercept radar (LPIR), agile airframes, and supercruise performance. Each also featured highly integrated computer systems that are capable of networking with other elements within the battlespace for situational awareness and C3 (command, control and communications) capabilities.

Breaking Down the Stealth Fighters  – F-22

The F-22 was the first of the fifth-generation aircraft. It was developed as an air dominance/air superiority fighter, but could also be employed in other roles including ground attack, electronic warfare and signals intelligence capabilities. The Russian Su-57 was also developed to be capable of engaging in aerial combat, as well as being able to conduct ground and maritime strikes.

The Raptor could be described as a far more “mature” platform, as it first entered service in 2005. Originally the United States Air Force had planned to buy a total of 750 of the F-22s, but the program was cut to just 187 aircraft due to the high cost, a lack of real air-to-air missiles during the Global War on Terror, and a ban on exports. In addition, the U.S. military should develop the more versatile F-35 Lightning II, and as a result, the last F-22 was delivered in 2012.

Here Comes the Su-57

The Su-57’s first flight only took place two years before the last F-22 was produced. Thus it is a newer aircraft but features many design similarities. Whereas the F-22 program was cut short, the Su-57 has failed to actually gain any momentum and to even get airborne! Development of the Felon has been protracted, and the first production aircraft was destroyed in a crash in December 2020. While the numbers of the F-22 aren’t as significant, certainly has a leg up in terms of overall numbers. Score one for the Raptor.

The Russian-designed aircraft is slightly larger and significantly heavier than its American counterpart. Both are twin-engine aircraft – Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 afterburning turbofans, each producing 26,000 pounds of thrust dry and 35,000 pounds of thrust with reheat in the F-22; and NPO Saturn/FNPTS MMPP Salyut AL-41F1 turbofan engines that can produce 35,000 pounds of thrust each with the Su-57.

Speed is nearly identical, as the F-22 Raptor has a top speed of 1,599 mph compared to the 1,616 mph of the Su-57. However, the Russian Felon edges out the Raptor in range, as the Sukhoi aircraft has a reported 3,107 miles to the 2,000 miles of the Lockheed Martin – while the Su-57 can exceed the 50,000-foot ceiling of the F-22, reaching an astonishing 65,617 feet. All of that certainly gives the Su-57 a slight edge.

Each can carry a variety of weapons including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, both internally as well as on external hardpoints. However, the F-22 is considered to be the more maneuverable aircraft, and with equally skilled pilots – a major variable as well – the Raptor could win the day.

Additionally, it has been suggested that the Su-57 ranks last in stealth among the various fifth-generation aircraft and very few have been produced. Its stealth capabilities should not be dismissed, however, as in combat it isn’t always about the smallest radar cross-section or infrared signature, but leveraging the platforms. The Su-57 wasn’t designed to serve as a stealthy fighter like the F-22, yet if the enemy can more readily see it, they can try to shoot it down.

Finally, it should be remembered that the F-22 was the first, and the aircraft could see its final days on the horizon, while the Su-57 still has to get off the ground.

Su-57

Su-57 stealth fighter. Image Credit: Artist Rendition.

Su-57

Su-57 artist rendering. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Su-57

Su-57 stealth fighter. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Russia's Su-57

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

Su-57

Su-57. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Su-57

Su-57. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Now a Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military hardware, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Kevin E Anderson

    April 25, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    Everything we’ve all seen and heard about how Great Russia is hardly worth talking about! Ukraine is embarrassing them in almost every front ! Russia is a paper tiger and it has shown during it’s invasion! Yea here we go about Russia hasn’t pulled out its big guns lol! I’ll wait! It’s embarrassing to read all this crap about how good Russia is blah blah blah! 🤣

  2. Mrroselli

    April 25, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    So, I’m not understanding how the felon is “significantly heavier” has identical engine output, but is slightly faster. This doesn’t make sense.

  3. Timbo

    April 25, 2022 at 10:38 pm

    Meanwhile, F-22 pilots are LOL!… Seriously.
    Civilian ‘experts’ can opine all they want. Talk to a Raptor pilot and observe the body and facial language.
    The F-22 is nothing to mess with, and the Russians have always been notorious for their braggadocio rhetoric when involving their wares of warfare. The US doesn’t do that.
    IMO, (and that’s not much), the Su-57 will never reach production. It’s outdated on the drawing board.
    Thanks for the article, though… we really enjoy 19fortyfive!

    • JERRY L STROUD

      April 25, 2022 at 11:40 pm

      I agree 100%. These writers would seriously question a fight between gorilla and Bambi in these articles. They are clueless.

  4. Alex

    April 26, 2022 at 1:37 am

    Inaccuracies that do not require proof:
    1. Is the F-22 more maneuverable? Seriously? The F-22 has a deflectable thrust vector in only one plane, while the CU-57 has a deflectable thrust vector in all planes.
    2. The “invisibility” of the F-22 was demonstrated when the F-22 was first seen by Chinese and Russian pilots.
    3. The Russians say that they are making an aircraft from the S-57 not of the 5th generation, but of the 5++ generation in development. You may not believe it. As well as not believing in Russia’s hypersonic weapons, which are now being successfully used, while in the United States there are constantly problems with testing hypersonic weapons.

    • Jim Daniel

      April 26, 2022 at 5:48 am

      First, the Russian hypersonic missle was not exactly what the news media presented it to be. It was not a true hypersonic, it was a normal, regular everyday supersonic missle that used gravity to create a hypersonic terminal velocity for a short period. We have the same ability using our current weapons.

      Second, the Russians don’t build weapons that are superior to Western weapons. They steal the technology (from the atomic bomb forward), and their industry is basically incapable of producing high quality, high tech materials or products.

      For example, their “aircraft carriers” have been mechanical disasters producing tons of heavy black smoke and staying in the port for repairs more than out on patrol. In addition, they carried jump jets closer to the British Harrier than the Tomcat. Literally, they were never a tactical threat to American naval or land based air power.

      Russians can build technologically simple stuff in large numbers to overwhelm the enemies defenses, but they have not been able to actually produce an advanced weapons system that could better the West so far and this is probably not going to disprove that rule.

  5. Audie Blechynden

    April 26, 2022 at 2:18 am

    The American 5 generation planes are now mainstream and available in large numbers . The S-57 is at best limited in availability. Its not the plane that has the best pr but the one that shows up . As such the F22 even though it is now dated and will be superseded in the next decade is the clear winner .

  6. Joe Bloggs

    April 26, 2022 at 5:08 am

    Your kidding yourselves along thinking the f22 has more manoeuvrability than SU57.

  7. Sam

    April 26, 2022 at 6:48 am

    Same joke everytime…there is at least 20years difference between the planes, the american is mature, the ruski is not even in production probably 10 in total.

  8. Alex

    April 26, 2022 at 7:44 am

    First, Russia’s hypersonic missiles are land-based, sea-based and air-based. They are not being tested like the American ones. Russian hypersonic missiles on combat duty and in mass production. The evidence is the destruction of NATO weapons on the territory of Ukraine and the witnesses are Pentagon satellites. Russia has requirements for hypersound – more than Mach 6. The United States has requirements for hypersound – more than Mach 5. Russia has hypersonic missiles in service with speeds from Mach 8 to Mach 12. The United States has experimental samples of about Mach 7.

    Secondly, the theft of technology began from the Third Reich, when the Americans took out all their developments, which at that time were simply fantastic. Many Nazi scientists worked for US industry. Remind me how many developments of the USSR were stolen by the United States during the Cold War? Hundreds! And the most interesting thing is that the United States still cannot repeat what they did in the USSR 50 years ago. However, Russia, as the legal successor of the USSR, has taken the lead in many areas of science.

    Forget aircraft carriers. This floating coffin for billions of dollars is pierced through by a hypersonic missile and nothing can stop it. Nothing and nothing.

    Russia is creating more defensive weapons, rather than offensive weapons like the Anglo-Saxons and the West under their leadership. So do India and China. Why? Because Satan in the West is going on a new crusade to the East, where he will again be defeated and, most likely, completely destroyed. But – do ordinary people of the West understand this or will they go to the slaughter for their mentally ill Satanist leaders? Time will tell.

  9. CK

    April 26, 2022 at 7:54 am

    lol, what a joke.

    US – so many 5th generation fighters in the hundreds, it can afford to retire some.

    Russia – a handful of 5th generation prototypes.

    Some competition.

  10. Alex

    April 26, 2022 at 8:01 am

    Bandera’s Nazi is trying to be proud of a country where he will never be even as a tourist. I’m sure the USA will appreciate his servility and admiration 🙂

    In total, since the start of the special military operation, Russia has destroyed 141 aircraft, 110 helicopters, 583 unmanned aerial vehicles, 269 anti-aircraft missile systems, 2,576 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 287 multiple rocket launchers, 1,111 field artillery pieces and mortars, as well as 2,392 units of special military vehicles.
    Glory to the Ukrainians of Donbass! Thanks to Russia for not abandoning them and protecting them!

  11. CK

    April 26, 2022 at 10:01 am

    If someone wanted to know the truth about anything in Ukraine Alex, the last person they would go to is you.

    Paragraphs and paragraphs of bollocks, dubious claims about “independent journalists”, random documentarians, conspiracy theorists, deluded claims that of course, have no backup, lie after lie after lie.

    Classical Kremlin troll approach. Just flood the internet, the comments, the media, with tosh, doesn’t matter what it is, just make sure you write some old nonsense. Make sure to say the claim is supported by some dude in Germany, France, the states. If it’s a “documentary” (usually from youtube) then the better.

    Anything that victimises Russia, always the victim, always the bullied, never the problem. It’s always the Nazis. It’s always some pseudo-historical point.

    Anyone that has had the misfortune to study your “tactics” sees the forest for the trees, the pattern of lies, disinformation, blanketing of random claims, deflection, obfuscation, and other words beyond your vocabulary.

    It’s hopeless Alex. Your lies are as short as your intellect. What a pathetic job, to sit in your government shed, spreading your pathetic, government lies.

    A pathetic job for a truly pathetic man. A better match could not be made in heaven.

  12. Larry

    April 26, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    Very well said CK! Alex comments nonsense on all 1945 articles, obviously an Eastern block troll. Sure wish obama and democrats hadn’t shut down the F-22 program so they could spend the money on vote buying social programs!

  13. Omega 13

    December 22, 2022 at 12:36 pm

    The Sukhoi is not even a 5th Generation aircraft. 4.5, probably. Even twenty years after the F-22, it is still an inferior plane.

  14. Dr. Scooter Van Neuter

    December 29, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    Russia continues to field military technology as fast as it can steal it from the West. Unfortunately, the copy is always inferior to the original.

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