T-50 / Project 701 / PAK FA
[Perspektivnyi Aviatsionnyi Kompleks Frontovoi Aviatsyi]
The maiden flight of the T-50 / Project 701 / PAK FA, the first Russian fifth-generation fighter jet was completed successfully on Friday morning, 29 January 2010 at Komsomol'sk-na-Amur. This event is signfincant for several reasons.
Ufimtsev, is known for his works in the theory of diffraction and propagation of electromagnetic and acoustic waves. Among his fundamental contributions were the the Physical Theory of Diffraction (PTD), and the discovery of new physical phenomena related to surface waves in absorbing layers. PTD is used worldwide in the design of microwave antennas and in calculations of radar cross-section of scattering objects. In particular, this theory was used in the design of American stealth aircraft nearly invisible to radar.
CIA Director William Casey, in a briefing to the Senate Armed Services Cimmittee in January 1986 stated, "We know that the Soviets are working to acquire the technology to develop aircraft and cruise missiles employing stealth features". Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger stated in Soviet Military Power 1987 that "evidence suggests the Soviets have made progress in developing aircraft that may have a low observable radar signature". The US Air Force started to address the needs of future fire control systems to handle the impact of Soviet stealth aircraft. In particular, contracts awarded by the US Air Force in August 1987 were to contain risk assessments addressing technology projection and Soviet airframe observability.
In early 2002 Sukhoi was chosen as prime contractor for the planned Russian fifth-generation fighter is called the PAK FA [ Perspektivnyi Aviatsionnyi Kompleks Frontovoi Aviatsyi - Future Air Complex for Tactical Air Forces]. This intermediate class twin-engined fighter was to be larger than a MiG-29 and smaller than a Su-27. The new fighter was said to be intended to be about the same size as the US F-35 JSF, with a primary air superiority mission and ground attack and reconnaissance being secondary missions.
The aircraft was to feature a long combat radius, supersonic cruise speed, low radar cross section, supermaneuverability, and the ability to make short takeoffs and landings. In accordance with the technical requirements, the PAK FA was to have a normal takeoff weight of 20 tons, which is close to the average normal takeoff weight of the two American airplanes, the F-35 JSF (17.2 tons) and the F-22 (24 tons). The new fighter (a medium version) was to have a traditional wing form, though the experience gathered as a result of Berkut's test flights will be taken in consideration when designing the fighter. It was supposed that it was to be created using the Stealth technology, and equipped with two AL-41F engines by the Saturn scientific and industrial enterprise, a radar system with an active phased array to be produced by the Fazatron-NIIR corporation, and high-precision weapons.
Although T-50 specifications remain classified, fragmentary data on its engines imply that this heavy-duty fighter will have a take-off weight of more than 30 metric tons and will be close in dimension to the well-known Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker. The new fighter's exterior was designed using Stealth technology, also known as LO technology (low observable technology).
Prototypes and initial production aircraft will feature many elements from the Su-35. The aircraft will be equipped with the same engines -- two AL41F1s, an improved version of the AL-41F on the Su-27, delivering 142kN (vs 123kN). A future engine will not be ready until 2015. The combat aircraft is fitted with 117S (upgraded AL-31) turbofan engines from the Russian aircraft engine manufacturer Saturn.
The new fighter's control systems, avionics and cockpit will be designed on the basis of the Su-35BM's systems, but not the radar. The N035 Irbis radar, a passive electronic scanning design derived from the Bars radar on the Su-30MKI, is being developed by the Tikhomirov Niip institute for the Su-35. The Tikhomirov Institute of Instrument Design, which developed the Irbis radar for the Su-35BM Flanker, has been working on the T-50 radar, which will feature an active antenna system, including three X-band radars (forward and side-looking), in addition to a ventral Ku-band radar including IFF and electronic warfare subsystems. The technical design was approved in December 2005, so that the radar will probably be ready before series production gets under way.
The aircraft of the fifth generation is equipped with the fundamentally new complex of avionics, that integrates the function "electronic pilot", and by promising phased-array radar. This to a considerable degree reduces load on the pilot and makes it possible to be concentrated on the fulfillment of tactical missions. Onboard equipment of new aircraft permits implementation of the exchange of data in the regime of real time both with the ground-based systems for control and inside the air group. The application of composite materials and innovation technologies, the aerodynamic layout of aircraft, measure for reduction in distinctness of engine ensure the unprecedented low level of radar, optical and infrared distinctness. This makes it possible to considerably increase combat effectiveness in the work both along the air and ground targets, at any time twenty-four hours, in the simple and adverse weather conditions.
The PAK FA can carry either eight next-generation air-to-air R-77 missiles, or two large controllable anti-ship bombs weighing 1,500 kg each. The new jet can also carry two long-range missiles developed by the Novator Bureau which can hit targets within a 400 kilometer range. The jet can use a take-off strip of just 300-400 meters, and perform sustained supersonic flight at speeds over 2,000 km/h, including repeated in-flight refueling. The highly-maneuverable plane has a range of about 5,500 kilometers. The fifth-generation fighter is equipped with advanced avionics to combine an automatic flight control system and a radar locator with a phased array antenna.
In comparison with the fighters of the previous generations, the PAC[FA] possesses a number of unique special features, combining in itself the functions of impact aircraft and fighter. The fifth generation aircraft is equipped with the fundamentally new complex of avionics, that integrates the function "electronic pilot", and by a promising phased-array radar. This to a considerable degree reduces load on the pilot and makes it possible to be concentrated on the fulfillment of tactical missions. Onboard equipment of new aircraft permits implementation of the exchange of data in the regime of real time both with the ground-based systems for control and inside the air group. The application of composite materials and innovation technologies, the aerodynamic layout of aircraft, measure for reduction in distinctness of engine ensure the unprecedented low level of radar, optical and infrared distinctness. This makes it possible to considerably increase combat effectiveness in the work both along the air and ground targets, at any time twenty-four hours, in the simple and adverse weather conditions.
"This is the great success of Russian science and design thought. After this reaching stands the cooperation more than hundred subcontracting enterprises, our strategic partners. Program PAC[FA] derives Russian aircraft construction and adjacent branches to the qualitatively new technological level. These aircraft, together with the modernized aviation complexes of the fourth generation will determine the potential of Russian VVS during the next decades. Into the plans of company "Sukhoi" enters further development of program PAC[FA], at which we will work together with the Indian partners. I am confident, that our joint project will exceed western analogs on the criterion cost- effectiveness and will make it possible not only to strengthen the defense power VVS of Russia and India, but also will be occupied worthy place on the World Market", said the Director-General of joint stock company "company "Sukhoi" Mikhail [Pogosyan], commenting on the beginning of flight tests.
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