The Sukhoi company, part of the United Aircraft Corporation, continues to test a promising front-line aviation complex aviation (PAK FA) T-50, they are connected to more and more experienced cars. In the near future, fifth-generation fighters will begin to enter the arsenal of the Aerospace Forces (VKS) of Russia. At the same time, work is already underway on sixth generation combat aircraft capable of solving combat missions both with the pilot and independently.
To date, seven T-50 prototypes of the first stage have been built, participating in flight and ground tests. The works on the second preliminary stage (PI-2) and GSI-1 were performed in the amount planned for the 2015 year. One of the main issues that testers are now solving is the equipping of aircraft with modern weapons, in particular missiles, and their testing with a carrier aircraft.
The key issue in creating a new aircraft was precisely the development of a new set of equipment and weapons, which should ensure the qualitative superiority of the new machine. In this case, it is necessary not just to create several new missiles, we need a whole range of means that must be ready for adoption at the same time as the tests of the fighter itself are over.
On the new missiles that will be used on the T-50, working several companies of the military-industrial complex of the country. New missiles themselves must differ from the previous generation with increased range, high maneuverability, all-weather capability, and improved homing tools. In addition, they should not start from the external suspension, as in the current aircraft, but from the internal compartments. This led to a number of major changes.
“T-50 will receive six fundamentally new missiles by 2017, six more by 2020. Four samples of intra-body accommodation missiles have already been created and are being tested, ”said Boris Obnosov, director general of the Tactical Missile Weapons Corporation (KTRV), recently. Also, T-50 should receive three types of air-to-air missiles: RVV-MD (short range), SD (medium range), and DB (long range). The developer of the state-owned machine-building design bureau Vympel has become the developer of the new missiles. In total, the T-50 will receive more than 10 new types of aircraft weapons.
From the very beginning, the Ministry of Defense, in the ideology of the PAK FA, laid great universality, which our “competitor” lacks so much. American aircraft of the fifth generation only recently began to refine the shooting on the ground. The T-50 was immediately developed as a more versatile aircraft, its shock potential is much higher. For example, the PAK FA may apply weapon and with external suspension.
At the same time, work on hypersonic rocket systems for arming aircraft in Russia has been conducted for a long time, including within the framework of international cooperation. An example in this area is the BrahMos-M aircraft-based anti-ship missile project developed jointly by Russian and Indian enterprises. The BrahMos-M rocket will be able to reach speed in 3,5 Mach (in 3,5 times the speed of sound). Three such missiles will be able to carry a Su-30MKI multi-purpose fighter assembled in India under a Russian license, and a MiG-29К / KUB carrier-based fighter will carry two. The fifth-generation FGFA fighter, a joint Russian-Indian development based on the T-50, can also carry two such hypersonic missiles.
Russian and Indian specialists have already begun to develop a new, hypersonic BrahMos 2 rocket, it should reach speed in 7М. This type of missile is not in any country in the world. Laboratory tests of the rocket at speed 6,5М have already been carried out. That is, no longer theoretically, but practically a prototype of a hypersonic rocket and its engine already exists.
Russian developments in the field of hypersound seriously worry our Western partners, because in terms of their potential, hypersonic weapons are comparable to tactical nuclear weapons. Such weapons can easily overcome any missile defense. Hypersonic devices remain maneuverable and are capable of hitting targets around the world with an accuracy of up to several meters within an hour of the launch. At the same time, it is extremely difficult to track them: the flight takes place at lower altitudes than in the case of ballistic missiles, and ground-based radars are powerless.
In parallel with the large-scale work on the T-50, Russian designers determine the shape of the next generation aircraft. At the beginning of 2016, it was reported that the first designs for the sixth generation fighter were presented, which, apparently, could work in manned and unmanned versions. The new aircraft will have a number of fundamentally new qualities, for example, directed energy weapon systems, lasers. A new, more economical engine will also be needed, ensuring the achievement of hypersonic speeds rather than supersonic.
As for the immediate prospects for T-50, it is planned to obtain a preliminary opinion on the production of the installation batch of the PAK FA, and preparations are underway to conclude a state contract for the supply of production aircraft in 2017 – 2018.