Rus­sian fifth-gen­er­a­tion jet­fighter T-50 flight tests

SP's MAI - - AEROSPACE -

The Rus­sian Air Force is get­ting down to the of­fi­cial test­ing of their T-50 fifth­gen­er­a­tion jet­fighter in what is ev­i­dence that the air­craft is ac­tu­ally ready and can soon be passed into ser­vice. The T-50 flight tests have been sched­uled to start at the Akhtubinsk flight test cen­tre in March or April this year.

Five air­craft are due to be tested, with the fifth T-50 hav­ing taken off in Oc­to­ber 2013. Just a month later, the over­all num­ber of flights ex­ceeded 450. Once the Rus­sian Air Force gets six or eight ex­per­i­men­tal T-50 jet­fight­ers, the num­ber of flights could eas­ily reach 400 to 500 per year, which pro­vides for car­ry­ing out the flight test pro­gramme of 2,000 flights in a mat­ter of three to four years. The first few T-50 jet­fight­ers are due to ar­rive at the Lipetsk train­ing cen­tre of the Rus­sian Air Force for re­train­ing Rus­sian mil­i­tary pi­lots in 2015.

T-50 will be­come the first new-gen­er­a­tion jet­fighter that the Rus­sian Air Force has adopted for ser­vice since the late 1980s, when the Su-27 was com­mis­sioned. 50 to 60 T-50 jet­fight­ers are due to be bought by the Rus­sian Air Force by 2020, while the over­all num­ber of T-50 to be adopted for ser­vice will make up 200 to 250. It is held that the first com­bat ma­noeu­vre unit will be com­bat ready by 2017 or 2018.

The new jet­fighter should largely boost the Rus­sian Air Force com­bat po­ten­tial by re­plac­ing the now ob­so­lete Su-27 and partly Su-30, and en­sur­ing supremacy in hy­po­thet­i­cal air com­bat clashes with the en­emy who re­lies on up­dated fourth-gen­er­a­tion and even fifth-gen­er­a­tion jet­fight­ers, such as the F-35 or the F-22, which is cur­rently used by the US Air Force.

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