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Difficult takeoff: the Ministry of Defense finally received the first serial Su-57

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The Russian fifth generation took off. The first production Su-57 fighter flew to the 929th State Flight Test Center in Akhtubinsk. His transmission was supposed to take place last year, but then he suffered a disaster. The PAK FA / T-50 / Su-57 program turned out to be the most difficult and ambitious project for Russian military aircraft manufacturers. The work was threatened several times. Izvestia reconstructed the history of the creation of a unique fighter and made predictions about the fate of the Su-57.

Sewn for defense order: Su-57 will be hidden under invisible covers They will be made of special polymer materials

Distant plans

On December 25, a Su-57 in the colors of the Aerospace Forces and with tail number 01 in blue was spotted in Novosibirsk. The plane made an intermediate landing there on the way from Komsomolsk-on-Amur to the European part of Russia. This is the first production prototype from an installation batch of the latest fighters, which took off for the first time in October this year.

According to Izvestia sources in the 929th GLITs, tests will continue on the first serial fighter. Also, pilots and instructors will develop a combat training program for future pilots of these machines.

At the final collegium of the Ministry of Defense on December 21, the head of the military department Sergei Shoigu announced plans to receive 22 Su-57s by the end of 2020. According to him, by 2028, their number in the Aerospace Forces will be brought to 76 units.

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Su-57 fightersPhoto: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

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The contract for the production of a large batch was signed by the personal order of Vladimir Putin during the Army-2018 forum. Prior to that, it was planned that by 2027 the Aerospace Forces will receive only 16 newest fighters. The increase in the order made it possible to agree with the industry to reduce the cost of each machine by 20%.

The existing orders will make it possible to equip three aviation regiments with new Su-57s. In the future, additional contracts for the latest fighters are possible. Now in the flight test program, ten pre-production samples of the Su-57 are involved.

From 2021, the rate of deliveries of serial cars will gradually increase. The software should reach full production capacity after 2024. Up to 16 units will be built per year.

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Fighter Su-57Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

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The development of the aircraft, the construction of prototypes, the conduct of military tests – all this takes a lot of time, the former commander of the 4th Air Force and Air Defense Army Lieutenant General Valery Gorbenko told Izvestia. At the same time, over the past decade, many more modern technologies have appeared that engineers have applied to their development.

“The developers were solving the problem of creating a new generation aircraft, which Russia had no analogues before,” the general explained. – He is very different from the others. There a lot of problems are solved by a computer. The engineers had to create the airframe, the electronic equipment, and all the systems from scratch. During the creation of the car, imported components were replaced. For example, composite materials, thanks to which the plane is invisible, were previously purchased, and now they are produced in Russia. Changed sighting systems, now they can select the most dangerous targets faster than the pilot.

Good luck and problems

The Ministry of Defense was supposed to receive the first serial Su-57 at the end of last year. But plans were thwarted by an accident with him three days before the official ceremony. On December 24, 2019, a technique refused on one of the final test flights. Test pilot Alexei Gorshkov managed to eject from the falling car, but the fighter itself crashed. The loss will not affect the total number of aircraft in the Aerospace Forces. A new one will be built to replace the lost one.

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Su-57 fightersPhoto: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

Uncontrolled flight: what killed the Su-57 in the Khabarovsk Territory The newest fighter crashed 120 km north of Komsomolsk-on-Amur during a test flight

Until the causes of the accident were clarified and eliminated, the transfer of aircraft to the troops was postponed for a year. The results of the investigation and the work of the commission were used in order to make the promising Sukhoi fighter even more perfect. The production program had to be adjusted to compensate for the delay.

Earlier accidents had already hampered the test program. On June 10, 2014, during a show of the Indian delegation, the engine of the fifth flight prototype caught fire. He received such serious damage that the airframe of the aircraft had to be rebuilt virtually from scratch.

According to the executive director of the Rostec corporation Oleg Yevtushenko, by the spring of this year, the prototypes had already completed several thousand test flights. In 2018-2019, such fighters visited Syria twice and tested their new weapons not at the test site, but against the real targets of the extremists. According to Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, they successfully completed all tasks there.

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Fighter Su-57Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

This year they were tested in joint actions with other fighters and bombers. Previously, it was tested in tandem with the heavy S-70 Okhotnik drone, which can carry both aerial bombs and air-to-air missiles.

Su-57 version 2.0

In parallel with the establishment of serial production of new machines, work is already underway to improve the latest fighter. As Izvestia previously reported, in October 2018, development work (R&D) began under the Megapolis code. It involves the creation by 2024 of an updated version, known as the “Su-57 Stage 2”.

The first flight of the upgraded prototype is scheduled for 2022. It is planned to complete tests as part of the ROC at the end of 2024. Most of the cars from the signed contract for 76 units will be produced in a new version.

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Su-57 fightersPhoto: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

The main difference will be the use of a super-powerful engine, known under the designation “Product 30”, which was developed specifically for the Su-57 from scratch at UEC – Ufa Engine-Building Production Association. The turbojet AL-41F1 is being installed on the first serial ones.

The first flight of the Su-57 with a new power plant took place in March this year. It was mounted on one of the pre-production experimental fighters undergoing testing. The engine can be identified by its characteristic serrated nozzle. It reduces the aircraft’s visibility to radar and other detection equipment. “Product 30” will have a longer service life and will provide the fighter with the ability to cruise at supersonic speed without the need for afterburner.

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Fighter Su-57Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

“Super-Sukhim” will be released: the Su-57 fighter is awaiting modernization Plans for the upgrade of the Russian fifth-generation aircraft were formed even before it was put into service

In addition, an improved version of the “second stage” will expand the range of aircraft guided weapons. Several families of “smart” missiles and bombs are being developed for it, which can be placed in internal compartments. There they do not increase the aircraft’s radar signature.

At the end of 2019, a representative of the Aerospace Forces announced plans in the long term to equip the fighter with hypersonic weapons. After 2030, the Dagger missiles may appear on board, which are now used only by the upgraded MiG-31K interceptors.

In addition, the pilot will be provided with better situational awareness in flight and combat due to new instruments. Under the Megapolis program, a new panoramic aviation indicator, multifunctional screens and a wide-angle collimator sight are being developed. The electric steering surfaces will bring up the already excellent maneuverability.

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