According to THE Drive Article No, Russia’s Su-57 Stealth Fighter Program Isn’t Dead, At Least Not Yet
Russia has no plans to put its vexing but also often misunderstood Su-57 stealth fighter aircraft into large-scale production at present and will continue to produce only small numbers of planes to fulfill one existing contract.
The Kremlin insists it could decide to place bigger orders for the aircraft in the future, but it is unclear when and if the country will have the necessary resources to truly reboot the project and whether the jets will still be relevant by the time it does.
Yuri Borisov, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister, made the Kremlin’s plans for the Su-57 during an interview with the state-owned Russia 24 television network on July 2, 2018.
The Kremlin finally placed its first order for low-rate production aircraft, 12 in total, in June 2018, nearly a decade after the program began, but there is no indication that there will be any additional purchases in the near future.
“You know that today the Su-57 is considered to be one of the best aircrafts [sic] produced in the world,” Borisov boasted, despite the reality being much more nuanced, which you can read about in depth here. “Consequently, it does not make sense to speed up work on mass-producing the fifth-generation aircraft.”
Russia will still take delivery of the dozen jets it has on order, with the first pair of early production examples set to arrive in 2019. These aircraft will go to Lipetsk Air Center, home of the 4th Center of Combat Application and Conversion of Frontline Aviation, which runs Russia’s analog to the U.S. Navy’s Topgun program.
Lipetsk Air Center will be one of the first in the RF Armed Forces to receive the fifth generation of Su-57 fighters. The planes will arrive there in the near future, said the head of the State Training Center for #Aviation Personnel, Lieutenant-General Yuri Sushkov#Russia #RuAF pic.twitter.com/TLHmylMRjv
— Russian Air Force (@Ruaf_Hmeimim) July 17, 2018
It is likely that at least some of these aircraft will support the continued development of the aircraft and new aerial munitions, as well as work on advanced air combat tactics, techniques, and procedures.
It’s not clear how long it will take for the other 10 to reach the Russian Air Force. If production levels stay where they are now, Sukhoi could build two a year through 2024. Between the jet’s first flight in January 2010 and January 2018, Russia has managed to take delivery of less than a dozen flyable pre-production aircraft. The original goal was to have 150 of the stealthy planes in service by 2020.
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