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.

28 Comments

  1. According to Americans, Su-57 is junk platform with weak, inferior stealth capabilities. Any weapon thats not NATO origin is inferior according to deluded self praising ‘Only us makes great stuff’ Americans. After 6 months of calling North Korean ICMBs and nukes dud dummy plastic artworks, the same Americans now pee in their pants seeing ‘fake North Korean missiles’ fly long enough to hit any spot in the USA with thermonuclear warheads. Russia is 100 times more technologically advanced than North Korea, dont be half-wits!

    • Exactly my words. Keyboard warriors are trying to claim here how U.S. can easily handle any Russian threats, but what we can actually see is how desperate Americans look like when they see dated North Korean missiles flying all around their allies in Asia.

    • Well, the last few Russian fighters (MiG-25/29) were said to be so so ‘superior’ turned out turkeys. Russians are the ones that are famous for making incredulous claims when none of their systems are ever rigorously tested to prove their claimed capabilities while the US military consistently make incredulous understatement of their platforms, only to impress during war. Just see the USAF and USN factsheets and see how much they actually understate their weapons performance.

      • Nonsense. The MiG-29 was great in the 80’s, especially due to the R-73 missile and helmet sight. Its radar wasn’t remotely as easily jammed as expected by the Americans. Su-27 was flat-out superior to F-15C in the 80’s.

        (The Soviet fighters of the 60’s and 70’s had issues. MiG-23 had too complicated radar and wasn’t agile enough, both MiG-21 and MiG-23 had poor armament. The USAF, UK and most of European save for the French had crappy fighters in the 60’s as well.)

        The West only regained superiority when active radar seeker missiles (AMRAAM, MICA) and the new Western IR missile generation (IRIS-T, AIM-9X, MICA IR, Python-4/-5 – the answers to the R-73) and the mere 187 F-22s arrived.

        • 1 the SU-27 didn’t have the fuel to fight, it only had enough fuel to fly combat over it’s own airfields .. and that is useless.. so no, the SU-27 was useless in the 80’s.

          2nd the SU-27’s uselessness was addressed by adding another internal fuel tank, which when full, put the Flanker off-balance and out of it’s designed rotational mass ratio with the wings’ angle of incidence and centre of lift.
          … so again, the SU-27 was 1. useless until it wasn’t.. and poor when full of fuel.

          Summary of the SU-27 in the ’80s … can’t meet NATO jets in a first strike … added external tanks which had to be kept through the fight, making them easy kills … added an internal tank, which stayed full until external tanks were jettisoned entering a fight, leaving the SU-27 vulnerable, subject to stalling & maneuver killing themselves entering the fight.

          .. claiming the SU-27 was good in the 80’s is like claiming the f-16 wasn’t stupid dangerous to fly in the 80’s …and US pilots quite the airforce to avoid flying the electric lawn dart.

          SU-27 & the F-16 were both dogsh*t in the 1980’s.

          • You wrote utter nonsense there. The SU-27 had enough internal fuel from the start, and if there was a fuel problem regarding CG the pilot could dump fuel and redistribute it with pumps. Su-27s are rarely seen with drop tanks – they’re essentially for ferry flights only.

            The F-15s used external drop tanks almost all the time.

            Su-27s were vastly superior to F-15s in dogfighting, had an occasionally useful IR sensor, had vastly superior IR-guided missiles and about equivalent medium range SARH missiles in the 80’s + they had medium range IR-guided missiles and medium range passive radar missiles for occasional surprises.

            And F-16s were useful fighters in the 80’s. They were facing MiG-21 and MiG-23 that had not received R-73s mostly. Su-27s weren’t in Central Europe, and MiG-29 were still are in the 80’s compared to the older fighters. SARH missiles were not very deadly against agile and quick fighters with a fully functional radar warning receiver.

          • Obviously you have your aircraft mixed up.

            “Flanker” was the NATO code name for the MiG 23, not Su27, a completely different and far more capable aircraft.

            Flanker, MiG 23 was the Soviet answer to the equally ponderous F4 Phantom II which shared its engines with the Boeing commercial aircraft. In the UK, the Phantom II shared its Rolls Royce Spey engines with the commercial BAC 111 and Trident.

            The MiG 25 so completely outclassed the then frontline Phantom II and the next USAF dud, the FB 111, that work was speeded up on F14 and F15, which were still outclassed by MiG 25 in sheer power and performance. As soon as the USAF trotted out Grumman’s F14 Tomcat, the Soviets brought out Su 27, and F15 flew into MiG 29 with its look-down shoot-down radar matching the Hughes set up on both US fighters.

            Needless to say, F14 is long retired, Su 27 still flies.

            The US aircraft manufacturers do a great job talking up their products and talking down the competition. North Korea 51-53 showed that the F86 Sabre was not superior to the MiG 15, and Vietnam showed that F4 Phantom was no fighter, and FB 111s relying on their much hyped TFR or terrain following radar, suffered so many crashes they were simply withdrawn and retired right away. The swing-wing concept was then transferred to F14 which despite all the talk about its Phoenix missile system, was retired in no time. No?

            • MiG-23 = Flogger
              MiG-27 = Flogger-D
              Su-27 = Flanker

              F-4 didn’t use commercial aircraft engines. The J79 was a successful early afterburner turbojet, also used in Starfighter.

              Su-27 should rather be seen in the context of the earlier F-15 than the F-14.

              F-4 did decent over Vietnam, it was just not cost-efficient since it required so muhc more effort than its adversaries MiG-17 and MiG-21.

              F-14 wasn’t “retired in no time”. It was retired long after an expensive re-engining because it was too specialised as a interceptor/fighter with limited photo recce abilities. The F/A-18 was much more versatile and also more efficient (especially in regard to sorties/day). The F-14’s extreme bomber interception abilities with Phoenix and huge radar were not needed any more after the end of the Cold War.The USN needed more sorties for pounding Muslims, not interceptors against Badgers and Bears, during the 90’s.

    • Nobody is peeing in their pants about NK in the US, believe me. His hand-me-down Chinese junk would be blown out of the sky long before it ever reached the US mainland. The only people who should be truly concerned are the South Koreans, they are the low-hanging fruit and the easiest target to inflict the most damage upon.

    • Augustine. You should have said: “Only ignorant and stupid Americans”. Only idiots think this way. I have tremendous respect for modern Russian skills in this area……….May we never have to fight each other. Love ’em or hate ’em, the Russians are smart and industrious.

    • the North Koreans still don’t have re-entry, both missiles shot over japan were filmed breaking up on re-entry.
      they don’t have the mid course capability to launch an ICBM, and they don’t have the rocket technology to reach the lower 48 states with a warhead & re-entry vehicle (weight).

      .. they’re still just shooting bottle rockets.

    • American internet trolls maybe, but I have no doubt that the USAF knows better and is assessing the capabilities of the Su-57 very seriously.

  2. From what I read all over plane forums, head to head at an F-22 it is evenly matched. And from what I’ve read about the f35 it’s basically pork project that went over cost, and was a poor choice for a leader role in the armed forces. Should of fixed the F-22 faults and continued with that project. I have zero faith in the F-35 joint strike fighter if it has to go up against a Pak Fa/ T50, luckily it’ll still be a few more years before it’s going to production and Russia has only a small order for them, but they are looking to sell them out right.

    • micheal arazan,

      Your intel is so out of date. F-35 is pretty much dangerous in close range with its helmet heads-up display he can fire his AIM-9X by just looking on either side of his shoulder… And for dog-fights? Ask the Norwegian how their F-35A could easily kills their F-16 vipers in a dog-fight. Ye, true, F-35 has a very light body weight and a very strong engine that it can do difficult angle of attack and maneuver with the help of its computerized electronic support system that could push the plane to its limits without breaking of out of control! That is how beautiful the F-35 is… And none of its pilots ever whine or murmur about limitations. Every single one of them expresses the same overwhelming satisfaction…

  3. Lets play with current numbers , shale we ?

    RCS.

    PAK FA : 0,05 – 0,1m2 (The stealthier right now)

    F-22 : 0,4 – 0,7m2 (Fairy tales like 0,0001m2 are only somewhere in dreamland)

    Patato-35 : 0,8 – 1m2 (Not even stealth)

    J-20 : 0,5 – 0,7m2

    Rafale F4 : 0,3m2.
    Even stealthier than F-22…So soon we will have the second stealthier fighter.
    ===========================================================
    Speed

    PAK FA : 2.600+ Km/h
    F-22 : (CLAIMED) 2.410 Km/h
    Patato-35 : 1800 Km/h

    ===========================================================
    Supercruise.

    PAK FA : 1,8mach
    F-22 : 1,4mach (No 1,6….no 1,8….no nothing else. Just barely 1,4)
    Potato-35 : Search somewhere else. No such thing.

    ===========================================================

    MAX G turns
    PAK FA : 11G
    F-22 : 9G
    Potato-35 : 4,95G (A spitfire can win this)

    ===========================================================
    Rate to climb
    PAK FA record holder at 384 m/s.
    ” With such speed it would have been on top of Everest in 23 seconds ”
    F-22 : 220-260 m/s (No fairytale as 350m/s)
    Potato-35 : 100m/year
    ===========================================================
    Radars

    PAK FA : Sh121 N036-1-01 X-band in front and side front
    (It is ADVANCED Irbis-E) so we have at least 450Km range ,against 3m2 target.

    L-Band – No stealth BS against it.

    Rear radome : The classic rear ”horn” of the Sukhoi family with
    a small radar covering 52 Km range , and a special jammer inside it.

    F-22 : APG-77 with 240 Km range and ohhh….only 100 of them produced….!
    and AN/ALR-94 ….which ANY fighter has similar system.

    So much of ”technology” here….

    Potato-35 : APG-81 with 150km.
    ===========================================================

    Range :
    PAK FA : Record holder at 7000 Km in ”patrol flight mode”

    F-22 : 2600 km.

    Potato-35 : 2200 Km.

    ============================================================

    Weapons air to air

    PAK FA : R-77M 250km , R-74 all aspect 40Km

    F-22 : AIM-120C7 – 48km , AIM-120D – 72 Km
    Potato-35 : The same with the exception of UK and Italians with Meteor at 105Km

    ==========================================================
    Thrust to weight :

    PAK FA : 1.19
    F-22 : 1.08
    Potato-35 : 0.87

    ==========================================================

    Now , lets play with the new toys of PAK FA

    Izdeliye-30 engines with ultra thrust at 39,566 lbs x2 = 79.132 lbs.
    Thrust to weight at 1.36+
    More economy in fuels , more range.
    Speed 2800++ Km/h
    AND….off course , the ONLY with the new PHOTONIC radar.

    No stealth , No UFO against it.

    ===========================================================

    Do the math.

  4. Let’s be real, can we? This PAK FA (that’s what it should be called – its test and development name) isn’t stealth, sensors are not more advanced than other Sukoi and MiG production models, so why in the hell should Russia even bother spending money on this “fighter” when they might just as well push more capabilities into their Su-35?

    Look – it’s all the same 1970s, 80s era (technology) stuff. It’s all the same story of inferior (to the U.S. and NATO) capabilities. So why even bother with the PAK FA? It’s gonna get shot down just as quickly as an Su-35. From way far away before the Russian pilot even has enough time to react. He’ll never know what hit him, or where the missile came from!

    Plus let’s face some more obviousness. The U.S. economy produces in one year what Russia does in 20. Russia is an economic basket case with a poor and desperate population where goods and services are in short supply and the basic necessities of a modern 1st world life are not to be found anywhere in the average shared-outhouse countryside-community of ramshackle , dilapidated Soviet-era fire-trap apartments and deteriorating small pigpens. Russia can’t afford no goddamn fake 5th gen fighters!

    Russia will never be a global military power. Time to start focusing on trying to join the civilized first-world and stop these “never gonna happen” dreams of matching the U.S. and NATO in military firepower. I can 100% guarantee you that ain’t gonna happen in 200 years. Perhaps far longer. The PAK FA is not worth the juice what’s gonna be got from the (always weak) squeeze. Or should I say too little vodka from too many potatoes.

    • 45 million on food stamps, a crumbling infrastructure, infant mortality and life expectancy rates of a third world country. Hang on that’s the USA. As For Russia not being a military power, the Syrian war theatre begs to differ.

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