Testing has begun on the fifth generation of the Russian Su-57 fighter with weapons on board, as announced by Boris Obnosov, the general director of the Tactical Missile Corporation, reported the Russian Air Force service.
Eleven prototypes of the fifth-generation fighter have been built to date, but the state testing program has not yet been completed, and neither the date of delivery to the Russian Air Force nor the number aircraft to be delivered are known.
According to Obnosov, this is an important stage in the development of the project. The protocols of information interoperability with almost all types of weapons have been agreed upon. Almost all of the weapons have been developed by Raduga and Vympel design bureaus. The next testing stage will be the launching of missiles.
According to military expert Viktor Murakhovsky, many weapons are already being created for the Su-57, including air-air, air-surface, air-ship, anti-radar, barrage, guided, an inertial-complimentary control system, satellite navigation system, and so on.
According to the deputy director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Konstantin Makienko, the first flight with a new engine and the installation of weapons is the beginning of the most difficult stage of aircraft development.
“Software. This is the main ‘brains’ of the aircraft itself and the ‘brains’ of aviation weapons. If there is one single error in the program code, it could take months to find it. Pairing weapons with a carrier is a serious task,” the expert said.
According to published information, the first shipment of fighters will go into service with the old engine, the AL-41F1, manufactured by NPO Saturn (a modernized version of the AL-31F, created back in the 1980s). This engine is installed in 4+ generation fighters, such as the Su-35S.
It is unknown when serial production of the new Type-30 engine will begin.
“Engine development cycles are very long, the way the engine will behave is unknown, what will happen with it. I think there are still five years before the second stage,” Makienko said.
The first flight of the Su-57 with the new engine took place on December 5, 2017 and lasted 17 minutes. All aircraft systems and the engine were in normal operating mode. A video of the flight was shown on the Zvezda television channel.