New Photos of Russia’s Sukhoi Su-57 Stealth Jet Show Some Progress of Russian Advanced Fighter Program

New Ninth Example of Russian 5th Generation Sukhoi Su57 (PAK FA) With Its Enormous Fuel Tanks Spotted at Zhukovsky.

Vladimir Zinenko, admin for the Facebook group page “ВВС России”, a page for fans of the Russian Air Forces, has shared new photos of the ninth example of Sukhoi’s 5th generation fighter, the recently designated Su-57. The aircraft has been referred to in development as the T-50 and is the outcome of Russia’s PAK-FA advanced fighter development program. The program is intended to field an advanced 5th gen air superiority aircraft to offer capabilities similar to the U.S. F-22 Raptor.

One noteworthy distinction between the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor and the T-50/Su-57 is advanced, precision air-to-ground capability engineered into the aircraft from its origin, whereas the F-22 Raptor acquired this capability following its “increment 2” upgrade program in 2005 and has since demonstrated its precision strike capability in Syria.

The new aircraft flew through Zhukovsky International Airport two days ago when a number of spotters photographed it. The photos quickly appeared on the Russian aircraft spotter and photographer forum RussianPlanes.net.

The T-50 prototypes have worn several paint schemes so far and this latest example is wearing the pixelated two-tone camouflage livery seen on at least one other T-50/Su-57.

For the long ferry flight made from where the aircraft apparently first flew on Aug. 6, 2017 at Komsomolsk-on-Amur it transited approximately 3,273 miles (6,066 kilometers) to Zhukovsky where the photos were taken two days ago. The aircraft carried a large pair of underwing tanks during the flight.

The long ferry flight from its likely production facility to the Moscow area for testing spanned most of Russia.

This new aircraft, wearing tail number “511”, has been characterized as a production test aircraft using the final version of the Su-57’s airframe. It is said to have tested production capabilities for follow-on examples likely to be built in a low-initial-rate setting.

Questions continue to surround the Su-57 program. Criticism has surfaced in western media of the aircraft’s actual stealth capability, but many of these criticisms in popular media mirror those seen in the western non-defense press about the U.S. F-35 program, a largely successful program that has nonetheless drawn intense scrutiny and criticism in media outside the defense industry.

The majority of concerns about the Su-57 are focused on its engine program. The aircraft have used the NPO Saturn/Izdeliye 117, or AL-41F1 engine with vectored thrust capability. An engine fire in June 2014 seriously damaged the fifth PAK-FA/T-50 prototype during testing. That aircraft has since been repaired following engine replacement that took over a year. There have been reports of a program to re-engine the aircraft by 2025 with an entirely new powerplant intended specifically for the Su-57.

Image credit: Andrey Neyman via RussianPlanes.net

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About Tom Demerly 516 Articles
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on TheAviationist.com, TACAIRNET.com, 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.

16 Comments

  1. All 12 of them Moscow is able to afford isn’t what I’d call much of a threat. India knows the background on this wannabe stealth fighter, and I’m sure they told the USAF all about it when they went to their last Red Flag with those weak-engined Su-30MKIs. Probably made for a few good laughs with the Raptor and Lightning II pilots at the Nellis O-Club! These Russian machines better hope they never run into F-22 or F-35. They’ll last all of 30 seconds.

    • Hahaha! In the Korean war, with 29,000 aircraft, the USAF failed to assert air superiority over North Korea. Did the US and it’s “United Nations” allies win against the barefoot peasant armies of North Korea and China?

      In Vietnam, we can ask US Sen John McCain if US aircraft were untouchable over North Vietnam. Did the US win the Vietnam war against another barefoot peasant army?

      What is the use of such s reputedly powerful air force if it can’t even succeed in bombing a few North Korean peasants “back to the stone age” as threatened by US air force General E. Curtis LeMay?

      Has US air power defeated the Taliban in Afghanistan? It has had to resort to drone attacks because conventional aircraft are at such high risk from possible MANPADs.

      Come on; the power of the US air force lies in the aircraft manufacturers’ sales pitch. The F14 with its multi-target Phoenix missiles, was a flop, already withdrawn from service. A nearly Boeing 737-size “fighter” was a ridiculous proposition, anyway, and it’s “swing wing” technology had been a disastrous flop on the discarded FB111. No? So is the F16, successful only in terrorising helpless Palestinians. The FA18 was the plane, YF17, which failed in the lightweight fighter competition against the then YF16. It was brought into service by lobbyists and the need to create jobs.

      The US air force has never faced an equally capable adversary. The real test would be a head to head against the Russians or the then East Germans, flying the truly capable MiG 29 or Su 27 or 31. Otherwise, the USAF and it’s aircraft, have never been tested in real combat

      • ” In the Korean war, with 29,000 aircraft, the USAF failed to assert air superiority over North Korea.”

        > depends how you look at it. No US ground force has EVER been attacked by enemy aircraft since the Korean War. Also during the Korean War the US had a lopsided kill ratio ranging anywhere from 1:6 to 1:12 (depending on what source you want to take it from…). In the aerial campaign the North Koreans, Chinese, and Russian fighter pilots were restricted to a very narrow strip famously known as Mig Alley…

        http://yellowlegs-and-others.com/Place_Names/Images/MiG_Alley_Map-220px.JPG

        Throughout most of the Korean War, the US exerted absolute air superiority over the vast majority of the peninsula. Even in Mig Alley, air superiority was established if you were to look at the kill ratio.

        “In Vietnam, we can ask US Sen John McCain if US aircraft were untouchable over North Vietnam. Did the US win the Vietnam war against another barefoot peasant army?”

        > If you’re talking about air superiority… then yes. The US did have air superiority over the whole of Vietnam. During that time North Vietnamese aircraft never flew over South Vietnam. More over US air operations took place over the entirety of Vietnam. US and South Vietnamese troops could go anywhere in the country with out fearing the North Vietnamese Air Force. The same CANNOT be said about the NVA and their VC counter parts.

        Tactically speaking North Vietnamese actually lost. In every major battle the NVA and VC attempted, they were often beaten back with staggering casualties. The Tet Offensive was the last and only major offensive the NVA and VC attempted. After that, the NVA and VC were mainly on the defensive. Its often been hypothesized that had the political will to keep going, North Vietnam would have eventually succumbed. Vietnam War (in some ways) was more of a political loss then an actual military loss.

        “What is the use of such s reputedly powerful air force if it can’t even succeed in bombing a few North Korean peasants “back to the stone age” as threatened by US air force General E. Curtis LeMay?”

        > then you would know that Gen LeMay and his tactics were reined back by President Truman. If it weren’t for the use of air power, the DMZ would be in a different area or would not exist at all as air power was the only real asset that held back the tidal wave of Chinese reinforcements and Russian supplies…

        “Has US air power defeated the Taliban in Afghanistan? It has had to resort to drone attacks because conventional aircraft are at such high risk from possible MANPADs.”

        > The Taliban and AQ forces in Afghanistan quickly learned to fear US Air power in the form of close air support and strike operations. The use of armed UAVs (like the MQ-9 Reaper… )
        http://www.ga-asi.com/websites/gaasi/photogallery/4264089/mq9-reaper-weaponized.jpg
        in Afghanistan WAS NOT in response to the danger from MANPADs (as you so ignorantly claim because the Taliban and AQ had very little of those to begin with), small arms fire or from crew served weapons. Instead it was one out of tactical necessity. You should know (perhaps I am given you too much credit so I’ll educate you…) then that the MQ-9 was developed from the MQ-1 Predator drone. The expansive terrain of Afghanistan required ISR assets to remain on station during long periods of time, UAVs like the Predator drone offered this capability. When they started to arm the Predator drones it only made sense. You can spread out multiple assets over a wide area and they can stay on station for extended periods of time collecting intel and when need can strike enemy targets or provide close air support.

        “The F14 with its multi-target Phoenix missiles, was a flop, already withdrawn from service”

        > so much of a flop that it was able to shoot down Russian aircraft in the hands of Libyan pilots on two separate occasions. Iraqi pilots feared the Iranain F-14s. So much so that during the Gulf War Iraqi fighter pilots still feared the F-14 this time however in the hands of USN pilots.

        ” “swing wing” technology had been a disastrous flop on the discarded FB111″

        > yes so much of a terrible technology design that there are Russian aircraft designs that incorporated the swing wing…

        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Sukhoi_Su-24MR%2C_Russia_-_Air_Force_AN2283252.jpg/440px-Sukhoi_Su-24MR%2C_Russia_-_Air_Force_AN2283252.jpg

        http://www.military-today.com/aircraft/mikoyan_mig_23_flogger_l1.jpg

        https://grahampilot.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/tu-22m-3.jpg

        https://thaimilitaryandasianregion.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/tu-160-1.jpg

        +sarcastically+ because at the time of its inception, swing wing was just a terrible design feature…

        ” F16, successful only in terrorising helpless Palestinians.”

        > and shooting down Syrian and Russian aircraft… don’t forget about that…

        “The FA18 was the plane, YF17, which failed in the lightweight fighter competition against the then YF16. It was brought into service by lobbyists and the need to create jobs.”

        > wrong again…

        The LWF Program was primarily and USAF initiative. The USN piggy backed off of the technical findings and results for their own program VFAX. This program was to eventually replace the the older A-7s and F-4s in USN inventory. The YF-17 was extensively modified (structurally) to fit the needs and requirements of carrier operations. These changes gave the F/A-18 an additional 10k lbs of gross weight over the original YF-17 design. Unlike the USAF’s LWF that would start off as a simple day time fighter with future block upgrades for additional capabilities, the USN wanted day/night and all weather capability right out the gate. The F/A-18 would enter service with more operational capability than the early block versions of the F-16.

        “The US air force has never faced an equally capable adversary”

        >this is another fallacy…

        Before the Gulf War the Iraqi air force by it self was the 5th largest air force in the world at the time. Not only that it was perhaps the most experienced air force at that time as Iraqi was coming out of and 8 year conflict with Iran. the USAF’s and USN’s last major experience in conflict was over 20 years ago against North Vietnam. The Iraqi air force also had a mix of both Russian and western fighter aircraft in their inventory. Iraqi fighter pilots were trained in both western and eastern (former soviet) air tactics.

        “the real test would be a head to head against the Russians or the then East Germans, flying the truly capable MiG 29 or Su 27 or 31″

        > So what makes an East German or Russian Mig-29A different over an Iraqi or Serbian Mig-29A?

        ” Otherwise, the USAF and it’s aircraft, have never been tested in real combat”

        > USAF aircraft has taken part MORE combat operations than their Russian or even Chinese counter parts.

  2. ” … criticisms mirror those seen in the western press about the U.S. F-35 program, a somehow successful program that has nonetheless drawn intense scrutiny and criticism in media outside and inside the defense industry.”

    You do know what most of that was don’t you (besides the clueless who think they know everything about military aviation even though they don’t have a single armed forces or civilian aircraft-type flight hour)? Russian and Chinese paid disinformation specialists (“trolls”, wumaos”) that are all over the West’s Internet trying to influence the free world public’s opinion (free world doesn’t include dictator-led Russia). They have been relentless in trying to get the F-35 cancelled because they know that it can operate in their airspace with virtual impunity. Too bad it didn’t work.

    BTW – I hate trolls. Don’t you?

    • Did you even look at yourself when you’re calling someone “Russian and Chinese paid disinformation specialists”? Your constantly blabbing and spreading bs about how everything American is the best and how everyhing other sucks under almost every article of this website just keep proving one thing, that actually you have to be one of those disinformation specialists. Or is it just the result of very childish and immature behavior? Everyone who is real aviation enthusiast can easily notice there is always zero percent accuracy and credibility in your posts and that it is just a poor and pathetic attempt how to make some people upset. Really bad for you it doesn’t work at all and that your disinformations are not enough to influence someone. You shouldn’t probably use video games as a source of informations, because you are stop seeing the difference between a virtual world and the real one.

  3. Should have fantastic range, and looks to be a great dogfighter. However, it’s engines (currently) are woefully under powered and it isn’t as stealthy as the F-22 or F-35. Even with the new engines, it’ll still be a sitting duck for US stealth aircraft (and there will be thousands of F-35’s, vs. a couple hundred SU-57’s.

    The more immediate threat is China, and the J-20 in particular. The USAF really needs to starting stamping out F-35’s to overwhelm Russia/China, and our silver bullet F-22 force will ensure air dominance.

    Beautiful bird though, this SU-57. The Russians have some fantastic engineers over there, and this and the SU-35 will be deadly birds not to be taken lightly…

    • Under powered? How about you Check the Thrust to Weight ratio of F35 and F22? F35 has 1:16, raptor has 1:18 and The Engine Su-57 borrowed was from Su-35S which has 1:35 ratio.

      Everyone already started talking shit about a fighter that hasnt yet entered a Production or service

  4. Nice to see anything new related to the Su-57, any new progress, this article will surely left many haters and Western fanboys once again jealous af when they will see their useless assumptions about this aircraft were all the time so WRONG!

    Now about the program. The development is almost done, last two prototypes remaining for completion, the T-50-10 which is expected to fly yet this year and the last T-50-12. One of these (or maybe both) will be also using Su-57’s new 5th generation engines, the Izdeliye 30. This engine will have thrust no less than 170kN (with afterburner), ability of supercruising at speed over Mach 1.5, reduced heat signature and 3D thrust vector control for supermaneuverability…really lethal combination. Also testing of weapons from internal bays is about to begin next year and will be likely carried with the last prototypes. Ultimately, serial production will begin and first squadron consisting of 12 serial Su-57s is to be created with IOC status granted in 2019. More Su-57s are planned to be ordered within the new state armaments program for 2018-2025.

    Here are some milestones of the T-50 program.

    Ground tests of the AL-41F1 (Izdeliye 117) engine intended for the Su-57 prototypes.

    Demonstration of the Su-57’s high agility.

    Testing of the 30mm cannon GSh-301 for the Su-57.

    First mid-air refueling of the Su-57 with use of the probe-and-drogue system.

    Deal with it guys, your hatred has no chance to somehow affect the fact this beauty is going to service very soon and will be capable enough to handle any potential intruders which would want to violate the Russian airspace.

  5. Even if the F-50 is a great plane, Russia has little money to build it. It’s main focus will be as an export product to generate revenue.

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