Zhukovsky, Russia: Russia’s fifth generation fighter will be about three times as cheap as its foreign analog, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
He observed the test flight of a prototype fighter and later talked to the pilot, Sergei Bogdan.
“It will be a machine superior to our main competitor, the F-22, in maneuverability, armament and range,” Putin said.
“Also in morale,” the pilot added.
“Above all else,” Putin said smiling.
Bogdan said it was the fighter’s 16th test flight and more would follow shortly.
The prime minister said 30 billion rubles (around $1 billion) had already been spent on the project and another 30 billion would be required to complete it, after which the engine, weaponry and other components would be upgraded.
He said, factoring in modernization and upgrades, the fighter will have a service life of 30-35 years.
Russia’s only known fifth-generation project is Sukhoi’s PAK FA and the current prototype is the T-50. It is designed to compete with the U.S. F-22 Raptor, so far the world’s only fifth-generation fighter, and the F-35 Lightning II.
Russia has been developing its newest fighter since the 1990s. The country’s top military officials earlier said the stealth fighter jet with a range of up to 5,500 km would enter service with the Air Force in 2015.
The PAK FA is to be armed with next-generation air-to-air, air-to-surface, and air-to-ship missiles, and has two 30-mm cannons.