Russian fifth-generation jetfighter T-50 flight tests
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.