The Russian Air Force starts operating the new Sukhoi T-50 / PAK FA stealth fighter in 2016, an Air Force spokesperson confirmed.
The PAK FA is Russia’s answer to the American F-22 Raptor, with its weaponry stowed inside the body of the aircraft, with a hatch quickly opening and closing to release and fire a selected missile. Biggest advantage of the Russian jets compared to their US counterpart according to expert analysts: the Russian jets might have both better air-to-air missiles and better electronic counter measures to mislead Western made missiles like the AIM-120 AMRAAM.
The T-50 / PAK FA is Russia’s first 5th generation fighter. Most of the outside of the aircraft is covered with special material to both increase the aerodynamics of the plane as well as reduce its visibility on radar screens.
Three new PAF FAs made flew a display at the 2013 MAKS airshow in Moscow (see below). The development has somewhat been plagued, amongst other things a prototype sustained significant damage when the engine caught fire, and delayed. But the Russian Air Force commanders say that the project is on track for 2016. In due course the T-50 / PAK FA will replace aging MiG-31 Foxhounds in the interceptor role.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (above): One of the Sukhoi T-50 / PAK-FA prototypes on a regular test flight (Image © Vitaly V. Kuzmin)