By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
February 1, 2010
Updated on 2/20/10
On March 29 of last year (2009), DefenseReview published a story stating that we disagreed with the cancellation of the F-22 Raptor program, and calling for at least 1,000 Raptors, total, to be built and fielded. This is because we knew that advanced Russian and Chinese Gen 5 (5th-Generation) fighters have been under development for quite some time, and will likely pose either a grave military threat to the United States or undermine our power around the world when dealing with Rogue Islamic states/countries.
Well, three days ago, the AFP and other international news sources reported that the Russians have just test-flown their latest 5th-Gen, low-observable/stealth fighter aircraft, the Sukhoi PAK FA ((Prospective Aviation System of Frontline Aviation) prototype, called the T-50, for 47 minutes. Under development since the 1990s, the PAK-FA/T-50 is billed by the Russians as matching up well against the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. “It’s going to be no worse than an F-22. I’ve been in an F-22 and I know,” said Anatoly Kornukov, ex-commander of the Russian air force.
Like the F-22, the PAK FA Sukhoi T-50 fighter is capable of supercruise, and should significantly outperform all of our 4th-generation fighters like the F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 series aircraft.
The PAK FA Sukhoi T-50 is scheduled to be fielded in 2015, so let’s hope that all of our F-22s are at least outfitted with a helmet targeting system like the Boeing Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) or a helmet similar to the VSI F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS), allowing F-22 pilots to target enemy fighters with off-boresight missiles like the AIM-9X Sidewinder and at long range with beyond-visual-range ramjet missiles like the MBDA METEOR BVRAAM (Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile).
God only knows how many PAK FAs the Russians are going to build, so let’s also hope that 187 Raptors are enough. For the record, Defense Review doesn’t think 187 is NEAR enough–not even close. Unfortunately, we’ll probably find out who’s right, us or Secretary Gates, eventually. We sincerely hope he’s right. If we’re right, and war eventually breaks out, the U.S. military, and specificaly the Air Force, may very well be in for a rude awakening, finding itself at the losing end of a numbers game where swarming tactics, a ruthless game of attrition, and distinctly-Russian chess-like strategy are utilized by the Russians and Chinese militaries. Let’s not forget that China is developing its own 5th-Gen fighter (Shenyang J-XX). If the J-XX ends up performing as well as it looks from the concept images, we could be in some trouble.
Photo Credit(s): Warfare.ru
Company Contact Info:
ОАО “Компания “Сухой” (Sukhoi OKB)
125284, Россия, Москва,
ул. Поликарпова д. 23Б, а/я 604
тел.: (499) 550-01-06, (499) 550-01-07, (495) 940-26-63, 940-26-64, 940-27-62, 945-44-22
факс: (495) 945-68-06, 941-76-45
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]