The Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jets will be delivered to Russian troops by 2027, with several of them going into service before the end of 2021, state tech corporation Rostec announced on Thursday. Rostec was responding to an article published in the US-based magazine National Interest, which suggested the Su-57 was “unlikely to enter operational service before 2027.”
In a statement, Rostec said: “The Russian fifth-generation planes do not make the West feel easy.
“The plane is already being serial-produced and delivered.
“Over 70 aircraft will be delivered by 2027, including several fighters this year.”
The Sukhoi Su-57 is a multirole fighter which is specifically designed to destroy all types of air, ground and naval targets.
It is equipped with stealth technology, can reach a supersonic cruising speed and features advanced onboard radio-electronic equipment, including a powerful onboard computer (the so-called “electronic second pilot”), the radar system spread across its body as well as several other innovations, including armament placed inside its fuselage.
Russia’s Aerospace Force will take delivery of 22 Su-57 fighters by late 2024, which their number due to increase to 76 by 2028.
Ms Giovanzanti told Express.co.uk the Su-57 (T-50, PAK-FA) was a single-seat, twin-engine, multi-role fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft, whereas the F-35 was a slightly smaller, single-engine plane.
As things stood, the Su-57 was a land-based aircraft, with no Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) variant so far developed for ship-borne operations, unlike the F-35B, which would appear to put Russia at a disadvantage.
However, the Su-57, which is capable of travelling at twice the speed of sound (MACH 2.0), is significantly faster than the F-35, at 1.6 MACH.
The F-35 has a service ceiling – the maximum height at which it can operate – of about 50,000 feet, while the Su-57 can operate at slightly higher altitudes – up to 65,000 feet.
Ms Giovanzanti added: “There have been talks on the subject since the Russian Navy will need to replace his fighter aircraft fleet with 5th generation capabilities.
“Both aircraft are designed to achieve low observability and employ composite materials in the structure.”
The planes which escorted Mr Putin to a meeting with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo two years ago were prototypes, of which 11 had been built at the time, she stressed.
She added: “The total requirement is for more than 50 aircraft (76 stated in the latest State Armament Programme 2018-2027).”
She predicted the first operation unit could enter service in the early 2020s, an assessment which appears to tally with Rostec’s claim.
She added: “There is evidence that the aircraft might receive competitive bidder for programmes in the Middle East and some parts of Asia Pacific, including India and China.
“Russia has also pitched the Su-57 to Turkey as an alternative to the F-35 for the Turkish fighter aircraft acquisition programme, if Turkey is expelled from the programme.