By David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com
Photo(s) Credit: Russian Defense Ministry
August 14, 2017
DefenseReview’s (DR) been publishing information on the Sukhoi PAK FA T-50 “Raptorsky” prototype 5th-Gen low-observable/stealth fighter jet aircraft since February 2010, and we’ve been following its development ever since. Well, Russian media’s just gone public with the PAK FA T-50 being prepared to go into production as the Sukhoi Su-57 by 2019. The Su-57 reportedly will be able to fly as a manned aircraft OR a UAS/UAV/drone aircraft, with a rather impressive (claimed) 15 G maximum maneuvering/maneuverability threshold. The Russian government’s Sputnik News is leading with the following quote from Avintel Aviation Technologies Alliance CEO Viktor Pryadka, who they’re calling an “aviation expert”:
Each such plane [Sukhoi Su-57] becomes a computer center which is able to decide exactly what type of arms and ammo it needs for a specific combat mission. In the UAV mode, the plane can reach its target much faster with overloads of up to 15 G, while the maximum overload a pilot can endure does not exceed 10 G.
Just great. As if we didn’t have big enough problems with developmental Russian fighter aircraft tech already. According to Pryadka, the Su-57 stealth fighter will be able to “act autonomously analyzing the situation inside the combat zone where making quick decisions is vital.” In other words, Su-57 will employ AI (Artificial Intelligence). It will also be remote-controllable by Russian drone pilots sitting in a bunker somewhere.
Like the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, the Su-57 utilizes a twin-engine design and thrust vectoring, albeit with less-stealthy round thrust-vectoring nozzles rather than square nozzles. It would seem logical that the Su-57 utilizes Sukhoi’s full-aspect thrust vectoring system, rather than the F-22’s limited thrust vectoring–although there are some experienced fighter pilots out there who contest the combat advantage that thrust vectoring provides, even in a WVR (Within Visual Range) air-to-air combat engagement.
However, DR is more concerned about the Su-57’s BVR (Beyond Visual Range) capability. The aircraft will carry the K-77M missile (we don’t know how many, yet), which give the Su-57 a reported 125-mile engagement envelope versus the F-22’s 100-mile engagement envelope with the AIM-120D Scorpion. This situation is emblematic of why Defense Review has been arguing for the US Air Force to adopt a ramjet long-range air-to-air missile like the MBDA METEOR ramjet Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile system (BVRAAM). The goal should always be to be able to effectively detect and destroy the enemy at BVR range using superior radar and missiles. WVR engagements should be seen as an absolute last resort, even though they’re much for fun and interesting for pilots, the most interesting and fun being gun (cannon) kills, of course.
Anyway, assuming it works as advertised, the Su-57 has the potential to give the US Air Force some serious air-superiority headaches in proxy wars like Syria, let alone real World War III (WWIII) complete or semi-complete (conventional/non-nuclear) nation-state warfare scenarios, particularly if they’re also (eventually) armed with laser-weapons (including air-to-air and air-to-ground laser cannon systems), radio-photonic radar systems, microwave weapons and electronic munitions. That could prove really problematic for us, particularly if we can’t match them.
Company/Organization Contact Info:
© Copyright 2017 DefenseReview.com (DR). All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without receiving permission and providing proper credit and appropriate links. If you are reading this article anywhere other than DefenseReview.com, please email us the website address/URL (where the unauthorized DR article reprint is located) at defrev (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you.
Army Research Lab (ARL) developing Hardened Automonomous, Artificially-Intelligent (AI) Distributed Robot Swarms (or, Swarm Bots) for Future Electronic Warfare Environments: Will They be Ready and Capable for World War III (WWIII)?
Will the Russian Air Force Beat the US Air Force to the Punch with 6th-Gen Jet Fighter Aircraft-Mounted Laser Weapons, Radio-Photonic Radar (‘Radio Vision’), Microwave Weapons and Guided Electronic Munitions? Let’s Hope Not.
Lockheed Martin Aero-adaptive Aero-optic Beam Control (ABC) Laser Weapon Turret for Supersonic Jet Fighter Aircraft: 360-Degree, 30-Kilowatt Spectral-Beam-Combining Laser Cuts Right Through Air Turbulence to Kill Targets!
Lockheed Martin Develops Compact, Lightweight, High-Energy 30-Kilowatt Portable Electric Fiber Laser Weapon System for Fighter Aircraft: Spectral Beam Combining (SBC) Combines Multiple Lasers into Single Beam for Maximum Power