‘The first contract for 12 aircraft is concluded and the deliveries will begin soon,’ Russia’s deputy minister of defense Alexey Krivoruchko declared on June 30 during his visit to Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft factory. More than eight years have passed since the T-50 (now Su-57) first flight on January 29, 2010, in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Today, 10 flying prototypes are undergoing tests. The newest examples, built after 2016, differ from the first five aircraft in having a reinforced inner structure of the airframe. The aft fuselage section (housing the electronic warfare equipment) is longer; the aft lower fuselage is modified, as are some doors and hatches, as well as wingtips.
Sukhoi says in 2018 that trials will be continued under the second stage of state evaluation, with planned completion in 2019.
The 12 initial-production Su-57 fighters will be deployed to Akhtubinsk and Lipetsk evaluation centres — not to operational units. Full-scale production of the Su-57 will be launched in the coming years.
Sukhoi claims that the Su-57 ‘will be the company’s primary product on the market of aircraft technology starting from 2020’. Komsomolsk-on-Amur factory is expected to reach the output rate of two squadrons (24 fighters) a year by 2025. Piotr Butowski
More details will be included in our September issue.