Newest Russian T-50 Stealth Aircraft Makes First Appearance in Spectacular New Camouflage

New Sukhoi Fifth Generation Fighter Uses Pixelated Color Scheme.

 Photos of the newest Sukhoi T-50-9 have surfaced on Russian aircraft spotter blogs and forums. According to Russian media the aircraft made its first flight to Komsomolsk-on-Amur on April 24, 2017. The flight remained secret and no public photos were made.

Between May 10 and May 12 Russian aircraft spotters began to see the new T-50-9 for the first time. The aircraft was identifiable by its new “bort” number, 509, and most significantly by a wild new pixelated paint scheme. The first photos came from the Zhukovsky region near Moscow. Some of the photos first appeared on the Twitter account of Vasily Kuznetsov with what appears to be a cell phone photo of a digital camera playback before the photos were even uploaded to the Internet. At least one air-to-air photo allegedly shows “509” with two 8,000 lt drop tanks.

The T-50 in the new color scheme (Image credit: Stepanov Yury/

Comparisons between the new T-50 and the U.S. F-22 have been popular on forums and in news stories. The short story is that the performance of the newest T-50 will be similar to the F-22 according to Russian news sources, but that the aircraft will be re-engined with a new power plant that is reported to be “ahead of schedule”.

However, considered that the Russian stealth aircraft is still being developed analysts suggest the F-22 will still have an edge in low-observable technology, sensor suites and avionics.

This appears to be the eighth Sukhoi PAK-FA T-50 prototype. Once the aircraft becomes operative it will likely receive a more common designation such as “Sukhoi Su-50”. The T-50 is made to compete directly with other 5th generation aircraft such as the U.S. F-22 and the Chinese Chengdu J-20 and Shenyang J-31. India also claims to have an indigenous 5th generation fighter program underway although no prototype has been built.

Russia has said that its fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) program that is being planned with India would be a ‘completely new aircraft’ and is not linked to Moscow’s own new generation fighter.

According to Russian media outlets there are no export plans for the T-50, even though several variants are being considered for foreign markets.

Credit: DefendingRussia/Sukhoi

Most of the photos that have surfaced are very good quality images of the aircraft on the ground of taking off. One photo circulating in Russian social media appears to be an officially sourced image of the T-50-9 aircraft number 509 in flight with what is apparently a pair of long-range fuel tanks on the wings similar to the ones seen on the F-22.

The PAK-FA T-50 is quoted at approximately $50 million per aircraft current cost. According to Russian sources the aircraft is capable of a top speed of 1,516MPH (2,440kmh) and effective range of “3,418 miles”.

Top image Russian Air Force via









About Tom Demerly
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on,, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.


  1. Why pak-fa shuold be considered more advanced then eurocanards which even use s-ducts, while pak-fa that pretend to be stealth use no s-ducts? (while its recs gonna be larger then eurocanards on air to air configuration) According to Pavel Bulat, avionics specialist and head of the Kupol Group of Companies ” it still falls short of the 5th generation model, and is very noticeable on radar screens,” said the expert.” Pak fa rcs noway below 0,5 (and current prototypes much larger)

  2. As Russia struggles to field this 5th gen fighter, the U.S. is already working on its 6th generation of aircraft – one that will probably have the controllability needed to forego vertical stabs while still being able to attain supersonic speeds. Some think perhaps even Mach 3. By the time the T-50 ever (if ever) enters into service the U.S. will already be flying its 6th gen. NATO members will be able to buy both (F-35 and whatever new plane we develop).

    • The MiG-41 is another aircraft currently under development in Russia. It’s supposed to be new generation interceptor which should replace the fleet of MiG-31s sometimes around the 2030 year. Due the facts, the aircraft will have low radar visibility and ability to fly more than Mach 4, it is also considered as the 6th gen. fighter.

  3. This aircraft is already with the new engines. Notice how the engine is much less exposed on this particular aircraft while the jet cones are wider than previous aircraft.

  4. “…several variants are being considered for foreign markets.”

    Isn’t this actually a far bigger issue than how the T-50 would do against the F-22?

    The idea of the Russians selling an aircraft that is slightly inferior to the F-22 in a world where most T- 50 users will be facing at most F-35’s but not F-22’s would seem important. Russia is actually highly unlikely to go to war against NATO or some subset thereof. What about all the other countries in the world that don’t like their neighbours enough for it to turn violent, at least potentially?

    Imagine all the buyers of SU-27’s upgrading to T-50’s. If the neighbours only have F-16’s or even F-15’s they will be rightfully nervous. They could upgrade to F-35’s, and of course some of them are planning to, but how confident will they feel putting these up against a ‘Well it isn’t really as good as an F-22″ hostile nation fighter?

    Weapons are Russia’s most important manufactured export as I understand it. They will try to sell as many as possible. Some of the users will start fights with them – India Vs Pakisatan round 5 anyone?

    Keep in mind that the US Navy is one of the powers that has no F-22 equivalent to put against this “It isn’t quite competitive with the F-22” fighter.

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