Stunning image of two Russian T-50 stealth planes during weapon integration tests

Jun 02 2014 - 38 Comments

T-50 053 and 054 take off with external weapons during a test flight

On May 20, Sukhoi T-50 (PAK FA – Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks Frontovoy Aviatsii—Future Tactical Air System) program entered a new phase with the external weapons integration tests.

Two aircraft are involved in the testing campaign with external stores: “053” and “054”.

Noteworhty, the two prototypes of Russia’s 5th generation stealth fighter plane, still wearing the standard color scheme and not the brand new “shark” camouflage, carried: R-73 short range air-to-air missile and R-77 medium range, air-to-air, active radar-guided missile system (T-50 “053”); KH-31 antiship missile and R-77 air-to-air missile (“054”).

Image credit: Alazan /

H/T to Antonio Valencia for the heads-up.

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  • bnjohanson

    Nice elusive profile on those nozzles that resemble something stolen from Saturn V….and too bad that IR bunkle on the nose single-handedly turned any stealth signature profile into a something resembling a Santa Fe-Burlington box car…

    …what difference would it really make that I can sit at the scope and not tell the difference between this and a Foxbat?

    • Pooter Bilbo

      Well when you’re married to the idea of 360 degree thrust vectoring like the russians are, you’ve got to make some design compromises.

      • Roland Lawrence

        Indeed, shorter takeoff run, more efficient supercruise (around 5-10% im told) and being agile without having draggy canards might be a worthwhile pay off if you can get it right.

        • Pooter Bilbo

          True, there are some benefits. But the agility aspect of thrust vectoring is almost worthless (except in air shows at low speeds) in this day and age where you have BVR missiles that can pull 30g’s like it’s nothing.

          I’d take superior stealth and defensive countermeasures over excellent agility any day of the week, because you simply cannot out-run or out-turn today’s missiles.

    • Marco

      At least it flies costing a fraction..

      • Pooter Bilbo

        That remains to be seen. Designing and testing a few prototypes is a far cry from manufacturing and standing up an entire fleet of aircraft.

        • Roland Lawrence

          Indeed the awesome Su35BM is not really in any numbers out there so having something even more awesome and expensive like the T50 wont make much difference either. However I do foresee tech for the T50 being used to upgrade the existing fleet. Unlike here in the west where improvements for the F15/16/18 are pretty much banned to promote the F22/35.

    • Ed

      I doubt the designers overlooked the IR cam, that would be rather idiotic indeed. They do have facilities to test radar reflection, and they will surely test their own PAK-FA in them too.

      Perhaps you’ve noticed the golden hue of the bunkle? See for instance That’s probably similar to the solution applied to the F-22’s canopy (an indium-tin oxide layer), to reduce its signature.

      If that still creates as huge a signature as you say, then the only logical conclusion would be that it’s a stopgap measure. They surely are smarter than to undo all the panel alignment, internal weapons bays and so on, just by selecting a lousy IRST implementation.

    • Mongee Phase

      Nice joke, its hilarious….How’s the F-35 doing? $400 billion and 7 years behind schedule and $163 billion over budget. Its nice to have black money you can waist. Guess the joke on us, the tax payer. 400billion and rising

    • How about not making fun of the Russians? It gets old fast, especially when you probably have no clue what you’re talking about, or if this is stealthy or not.

      • Pirate Man

        Russians are the bad guys now !! It’s their turn again after China and Muslims have made their run.

        Though I rather have various countries producing their own planes rather than buying off of one source as it allows variants in the skies. Though sometimes I wonder if the birds are mocking us on light poles when we drive to work !!

  • Waldo

    The design team was given an ultimatum get it rite or off to Siberia for one hundred years where they get to see the sun once every 6 months .

    • Pooter Bilbo I’m guessing the design team is in siberia now.

      • David Brown

        can we send the f-35 design team there too?

      • Jim Brown

        26 millions live in Siberia. Climate in majority of Siberian cities is no different from Minnesota.

  • Matthew Morgan

    You know, these tests reminded me of something.

    Has there been any news at all concerning internal weapon testing on the PAK? Or has that just not happened yet. And come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen a photo of the internal weapon bays being open yet.

  • choppy9er

    There is going to be a lot of dead Russian pilots.They won’t even see what hit them.

  • grizzlebees

    a russian f-22ski. why would we expect anything less from them – to basically ripoff our fighter designs. ain’t like they can do much else.

    • Mongee Phase

      Well of course, just like we took German engineering and applied it to
      our planes. China has a f-22 clone(f-35 clone too); but the Pak-Fa is
      very unique and the cost is not the same. Raptors don’t fly too much.
      Expensive plane with expensive technology other countries would love.

      • Uranium238

        You’re kidding right? You should pay a visit to Hickam in and Langley. EVERYDAY I have seen them there airborne

        • Mongee Phase

          Ohh, they fly….. Mostly on U.S. soil but rarely in hot zones. Although, I did hear something about Raptor encounter somewhere in the Middle East. I never said they don’t fly at all. The risk of loosing technology to another country is too high. Maybe some type of self-destruct system in our planes and drones. RQ-170 sentinel Iran gave to China is a perfect example.

          • Pooter Bilbo

            That’s because the vast majority of “hot zones” that you’re talking about are places where the US has already achieved air superiority–the F-22’s main purpose.

            • Mongee Phase

              The air superiority you speak off was achieve with planes like F-15’s, F18’s, etc. The raptor was chilling at home; probably eating cheese cake–the F-22’s main purpose. Unless you fight Russia or Europe. But be my guest if you want to send some raptors to the Baltic Sea….scare off the Russians.
              They might not even know we are there. #stealth

              • Pooter Bilbo

                “The raptor was chilling at home; probably eating cheese cake..”
                Try again. The raptor was at home.. being built.
                Air superiority in Iraq and Afghanistan was established before the F-22 was even in service.. so of course F-15’s, 16’s, and 18’s did the work. (Remember, it entered service in 2005)

                We didn’t bring F-22’s to libya because their air defenses were not advanced enough to warrant its use, and the air force has F-15 and F-16 fighter wings all over europe. I don’t see how any of this reflects poorly on the aircraft, or the mission it was designed for.

                As far as other hot zones are concerned, I seem to remember hearing about an F-22 intercepting an Iranian F-4 and when North Korea was misbehaving recently, we deployed an entire F-22 wing to Japan.

                • kusanagi no tsurugi

                  Vs DPRK and Iran…the most fearsome countries with the most modern air forces…
                  …”when North Korea was misbehaving”..this phrase tells everything…

      • Jim Brown

        F-22 and T-50 look quite different. Unless you think F-15 and Su-27 look the same. F-22 is basically smoothed F-15 and T-50 is smoothed Su-27. Continuation of designing traditions by both countries.

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      Dude, you went to the moon thanks to a rocket engineered by an German ex-nazi scientist…if not for Von Braun you might have never reached it

    • Roland Lawrence

      and using the secret services like the CIA to bribe / coerce and steal the Mig25 Foxbat, Mig15 and Mig21s to fully examine the performance, construction and weakness that is not stealing? or maybe flying over a sovereign territory in a spy plane? Not to mention that the Americans stole the plans for the British Miles M.52 aircraft and made it into the Bell X1. Everyone steals. Do you not think that there are American spy’s in Airbus? Of course there are. Its ugly but thats the reality of life.

  • Pooter Bilbo

    Alright, I concede. Stealth aircraft are a complete waste of money. SAMs these days can probably shoot anything down anyway. In fact stealth aircraft are such a waste of money that Russia/India, and China are all working desperately on their own F-22 knockoffs, and there are no less than nine countries involved in the F-35 project.

    Here’s the bottom line. You seem to like the F-15, and don’t get me wrong, I love it too. It will go down in history as one of the most legendary fighters ever. The F-22 is very similar to the F-15 except for two things: avionics and stealth. As a result, the F-22 can absolutely mop the floor with an F-15, and has proven so on many occasions. So what have we learned? On paper both planes can rip 9g turns, hold their energy very well, and climb with the best of them. Sure, the F-22 is a little more maneuverable due to thrust vectoring and having more thrust to begin with, but its main advantages over the F-15 are stealth and superior avionics. And that is precisely why the rest of the world is so eager to develop F-22’s of their own.

    • CC

      If F 22 is so good why did americans cancel its production???
      Its too expensive, it needs too much maintainance etc.

      and the T-50 is NOT A F-22 COPY russians were working with stealh technology even before americans

  • aniptofar

    This is not a photo, it is photoshop.

  • mjpietro

    Looks like the Russians are up to their standard method of design, “Copy Exactly”! LoL! Russia is nothing like they have always been. No Navy and corrupt as ever. We have always made them to be much more than they are. It helps justify our push to keep superior. And after traveling abroad for D-Day Remembrances, I will firmly say, we have the finest military soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines.

  • carmouflagger

    Silly dummies seem to be forgetting the su27.

  • Roland Lawrence

    Americans make new stuff to purposely outdate the old stuff. They are great salesmen too. Maybe not ethical but none the less their sales figures and cash flow speaks for itself. The front of the T50 looks a bit like the General Dynamic proposal for the ATF programme and showing some lineage to the Su27 family so I wouldnt call it totally new. It does looks like it could well be a great plane however.

  • CC

    Stealth materials were first invented by germans in WW1 and the first ‘modern’ stealth aircraft is the Horten Ho 229 aircraft of Nazi Germany

    Americans captured several prototypes but couldn’t complete the puzzle until a a Russian scientist named Petr Ufimtsev the true father of stealth technology invented equations for predicting the reflection of electromagnetic waves from simple two-dimensional shapes.And other stealth related stuff

    Americans used his work to create stealth aircrafts and soviets created the Mikoyan Project 1.44 but due to Lack of funds and political crisis the first prototype came 9 years later(after the fall of USSR) but couldn’t reach completion.USSR was also working on the Su-47

    Russians later started making MIG Skat Stealth UCAV, Sukhoi PAK FA, MIG LMFS using Soviet era experiance

    • Chad Fancher

      What kind of stealth are you referring to because RADAR didnt even come along until WW2

  • Shoshi

    There are almost 200 Raptors in service…

  • Jean Valette

    It isn`t designed to be 360 degree stealthy but to have some frontal stealth capabilities. To me it looks like a giant killer – made to target specifically high value aricraft such as the AWACS, ECM and tankers, at least considering what its internal bays are designed to carry. I doubt it will have orders to engage F-22 or F-35 in open combat. Indeed, the internal bays mean one thing – the former two would have smaller fuel tanks where the F-35`s design uses the fuel as coolant for key components so it may carry more but at the same time higher chance of a fuel leak.