Russia tests stealth combat aircraft

Russia has completed a successful test flight of its much-anticipated fifth-generation stealth fighter plane designed to ‘excel’ against similar Western aircraft.

The aircraft, which is equipped with advanced phased-array antenna radar and an ‘electronic pilot’ functionality, spent 47 minutes in the air and landed at an airfield in the eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

Test-pilot, Sergey Bogdan, said: ‘In the course of the flight we’ve conducted initial evaluation of the aircraft controllability, engine performance and primary systems operation, the aircraft had retracted and extracted the landing gear.

‘The aircraft performed excellently at all flight-test points scheduled for today. It is easy and comfortable to pilot.’

According to the Sukhoi Corporation, the firm that designed the plane, the improvements to the latest design will significantly decrease the pilot’s workload allowing more attention to be paid to tactical missions.

As well as an improved avionics suite, the aircraft feature equipment for real-time data exchange of information with ground-based control systems and other pilots in a flight group.

Composite materials and aerodynamic analysis have contributed to a smaller engine signature to reduce its cross section in radar, optical and infrared range.  

Mikhail Pogosyan, Sukhoi’s director general, said: ‘Sukhoi plans to further elaborate on the PAK FA programme that will involve our Indian partners. I am strongly convinced that our joint project will excel its Western rivals in cost effectiveness and will not only strengthen the defence power of Russian and Indian air forces, but also gain a significant share of the world market.’