MOSCOW: Russia’s fifth-generation fighter performed its maiden flight on Friday.

  • The T-50 is the domestic name of Russia’s fifth-generation fighter plane which has been developed as the Advanced Front-Line Aviation Complex (PAK FA) for Russia’s Air Force.
  • The project started its development by the Sukhoi design bureau since it won the tender in April 2002.
  • The Tikhomirov Institute of Instrument Design, which developed the Irbis radar for the Su-35BM Flanker, has been working on the T-50 radar. The new fighter’s radar and fire-control system will be designed on the basis of the Su-35BM’s systems.
  • The new fighter’s exterior design was approved on December 10, 2004.
  • Last summer, the fighter’s design was approved, and the prototype blueprints were delivered to the KNAAPO aircraft building company based in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, where three experimental fighters will be built for testing.
  • In February 2009, the first prototype was constructed. After the plane was successfully tested on the runway, a decision was made to stage the maiden flight in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, rather than in Moscow.
  • The prototype fifth-generation fighter made a 47-minute maiden flight on January 29, 2010, in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
  • Although T-50 specifications remain classified, fragmentary data on its engines imply that this heavy-duty fighter will have a take-off weight of more than 30 metric tons and will be close in dimension to the well-known Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker.
  • The new fighter’s exterior was designed using Stealth technology, also known as LO technology (low observable technology).
  • The combat aircraft is fitted with 117S (upgraded AL-31) turbofan engines from the Russian aircraft engine manufacturer Saturn.
  • The PAK FA can carry either eight next-generation air-to-air R-77 missiles, or two large controllable anti-ship bombs weighing 1,500 kg each.
  • The new jet can also carry two long-range missiles developed by the Novator Bureau which can hit targets within a 400 kilometer range.
  • The jet can use a take-off strip of just 300-400 meters, and perform sustained supersonic flight at speeds over 2,000 km/h, including repeated in-flight refueling. The highly-maneuverable plane has a range of about 5,500 kilometers.
  • The fifth-generation fighter is equipped with advanced avionics to combine an automatic flight control system and a radar locator with a phased array antenna.
  • The newest combat aircraft are planned to be mass produced in Komsomolsk-on-Amur from 2015.