PAK-FA Revealed: Sukhoi's T-50 Makes First Flight
29 Jan 2010
Russia's fifth generation PAK-FA fighter made its maiden flight on January 29, 2010. Designated T-50 by Sukhoi, the first prototype aircraft took off at 1119hrs from KnAAPO's airfield at Komsomolsk-na-Amure. The 47-minute test flight was flown by company test pilot Sergei Bogdan.
“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”, - said Sergey Bogdan.
The PAK-FA (Perspektivnyi Aviatsionnyi Kompleks Frontovoi Aviatsii - Future Air System for Tactical Aviation) program was initially started to provide the Russian Air Force with a fifth generation multi-role fighter. India became a strategic partner in the program, signing a cooperation agreement on development and production in December 2008.
The fighter equipped with a brand-new avionics suite will also receive an advanced phased-array radar developed by Tikhomirov NIIP and a new generation infra-red search and track (IRST) system. New aircraft on-board equipment allows real-time data exchange not only with ground based control systems, but also within the flight group.
Composites application and innovative technologies, aerodynamics of the aircraft, measures applied to decrease the engine signature provide for small radar cross section in radar, optical and infrared range. The aircraft will carry its weapons internally to further enhance its stealth capability, it has two centreline internal weapons bays, and smaller weapon bays in each wing root intake fairing.
Following its first flight, the T-50-1 prototype was repainted in a two-tone grey and white camouflage with Bort Number '51 Black'. After several more flight tests at Komsomolsk-na-Amure, the aircraft will go to the Gromov Flight Test Institute at Zhukovsky, where development work will be continued, before combat testing by the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense will commence at the State Flight Test Centre at Akhtubinsk.
Deliveries to the Russian Air Force of the first batch of pre-production PAK-FA aircraft are expected to start in 2013, when the Lipetsk training centre should begin aircrew training. Series production aircraft are planned to begin joining the Russian Air Force in 2015. The Indian Air Force is set to receive its version two years later.
- Sukhoi Company launches flight tests of PAK FA advanced tactical frontline fighter. Sukhoi Company (JSC), News 29 Jan 2010, www.sukhoi.org
- Maiden Flight of Russia's PAK-FA. Air Forces Monthly #264, March 2010, p.4, Key Publishing, UK.
- PAK FA Now in Full Colours as Test-Flying Continues. Air Forces Monthly #265, April 2010, p.25, Key Publishing, UK.