Russia’s prototype fifth-generation Sukhoi T-50 fighter jet has carried out its first long-range flight during the transfer from a manufacturing plant in Russia’s Far East to an assigned airfield near Moscow, deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Thursday.
“It is a serious breakthrough! The plane flew 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles), making two landings, in Abakan and Chelyabinsk, on the way to the Russian capital,” Rogozin, who oversees the Russian defense industry, wrote in his Twitter blog.
The plane joined three other T-50 prototype models at the Zhukovsky airfield prior to state flight tests, which are scheduled to start in March 2013. The fifth prototype aircraft is being built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur factory in Siberia.
The T-50, also known as project PAK-FA, first flew in January 2010 and was presented to the public at the Moscow Air Show in 2011.
The Russian Defense Ministry is planning to finish the state flight tests of eight prototypes by 2015, so that they could go into standard production in 2016.
The T-50, which will be the core of Russia’s future fighter fleet, is a fifth-generation multirole fighter aircraft featuring elements of ‘stealth’ technology, super-maneuverability, super-cruise capability (supersonic flight without use of afterburner), and an advanced avionics suite including an X-band active phased-array radar.