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.

12 Comments

  1. Have same pilots flown russian planes ? No ? Have they tested russian avionics, etc ? No ? Are there any facts ? No ? :D

    • Ethan Mclean..
      Yes, our pilots HAVE flown Russian aircraft and avionics (vacumn tube ones at that), in fact, Chuck Yeager was the first, test flying a defected Mig 15. We have tested that, and the Mig 17, Mig 21, Mig 25, Mig 27, and are currently flying the Sukhoi 27..all at Area 51 in Nevada. This is a special group of Air Force pilots of a squadron based at Area 51, called the Red Hats. It is a test, and evaluation squadron. They have their own dedicated mechanics very familiar with Russian, and Russian aircraft technology.
      In fact, we recently lost a former F-35 test pilot, and the aircraft he may have been flying could have been the Sukhoi 27.

    • Americans have builded 186 F22 and introduction them in 2005, but today only 123 are combat-coded and 20 are classificated as backup aircraft inventory the rest are for test. Today F22 haven’t full integration for modern version of missiles AIM-9X and AIM-120D AMRAAM in any case this latter is obsolete respect european and russian rival, furthermore f22 still has not a helmet-mounted cueing system, russian have this helmet since 80’s. The funny things about this situation is that the money for f22 upgrades are used for the development of f35.

  2. Having read those and then actually looked at REAL STATISTICS… good for you for putting up Fake News *thumbs up for you*

    Let me ask you something. If you and your spouse (heaven forbid and I do not wish this on you or on anyone but this is merely posing a hypothetical) had a child and that child was born dangerously premature…

    In what hospital in what country do you think your child would have a better chance? Mexico or US?

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