It is obvious that the development of promising models of military equipment is currently a complex, lengthy and expensive process. For example, almost 57 years have passed since the start of development of the advanced PAK FA aviation complex (now Su-20). Half of this period was spent on research and development, and the following years were used to conduct flight tests and prepare serial production.
First decade. Project
The PAK FA program was launched in the interests of the Russian Air Force in May 2001. Its goal was to create a new fifth-generation front-line aviation complex. The first months were spent on making plans and choosing performers. So, at the end of 2002, the Sukhoi company was chosen as the lead developer; A number of other scientific and design organizations were also involved in the project.
Unfortunately, most of the information about R&D on the PAK FA is still secret. However, it is known that during the 37s, Sukhoi and other organizations conducted a lot of research on various topics, including using flying laboratories. In addition, developments in older projects, such as the S-47 / Su of the nineties, were used in the PAK FA project. Due to this, a new project managed to implement a number of modern and promising technologies.
In 2004, Sukhoi for the first time showed the country's military and political leadership a model of the future fighter. This product was not shown to the general public, and she recognized the face of the future aircraft much later. After the first closed show, the project moved to a new stage, preceding the construction of the prototype.
In 2006, construction of a glider for ground and strength tests began in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. He was handed over to the testers in 2009. At the end of that year, the so-called integrated full-scale stand for ground tests. Finally, in December 2007, the laying of the first flight model, known as the T-50-1, took place. It was rolled out in 2009 and transferred to ground tests.
Against the background of preparation for the tests appeared news about the export future of PAK FA. In 2008, Russia and India agreed to develop the FGFA project - a version of a fighter for sale to foreign countries. The joint production technique was proposed to be delivered to the Indian Air Force, as well as sold to third countries.
Second decade. Test
The path from the first instructions of the leadership to the start of flight tests, the PAK FA program has passed in less than nine years. In January 2010, the first prototype fighter began jogging. On January 29, the first test flight took place, giving a start to a new stage.
By its first "anniversary" the project has already shown new successes. So, in early March 2011 - shortly before the decade of launching the program - the first flight of the second prototype T-50-2 took place. Soon a very high-profile event took place - the T-50 first overcame the sound barrier. A few months later, the aircraft was first shown to the public at the MAKS-2011 salon. In the same year, a third car was launched for testing, and a year later a fourth. In October 2013, the T-50-5 aircraft was lifted into the air, becoming the last aircraft of the so-called. the first stage.
The sixth flight model became the "prototype of the second stage"; he flew in November 2016. At the same time, he produced a sample for static tests. Then in 2016-2017. flight tests of four more cars began.
Thus, from 2006 to 2017, KnAAPO / KnAAZ built more than a dozen T-50 aircraft, including various kinds of samples for ground tests. Aircraft were built according to two versions of the project and significantly differed from each other both in design and in equipment.
The second half of the tenth years was spent on the final stage of flight tests, in parallel with which preparations were made for serial production. In addition, during this period, the T-50 / Su-57 was involved in other projects. So, in 2019, it became known about the use of one of the experimental T-50s in the project of a heavy UAV “Hunter”. The fighter served as a flying laboratory, and also made joint flights with an unmanned vehicle.
Since the beginning of 2018, the experimental T-50s were tested in the conditions of a real combat zone. A pair of aircraft for military tests was deployed at the Khmeimim base in Syria. Fighters completed about a dozen sorties and showed their combat capabilities. At the end of 2019, new events of this kind took place.
Challenges of the Second Decade
The process of ground and flight testing of T-50 fighters was quite complicated and lengthy. In addition, not without various problems and accidents. Some incidents became public and for quite some time remained a topic of discussion and debate.
On August 21, 2011 at the MAKS-2011 salon, the T-50-2 prototype participated in demonstration flights, but the next take-off did not take place due to engine damage and subsequent surging. In June 2014, during tests at the LII them. Gromov there was a fire in the T-50-5. A noticeable part of the glider burned out, but the aircraft was restored and returned to testing at the end of 2015.
Against the background of flight tests, there were disputes with the expected foreign customer. The Indian Air Force regularly criticized PAK FA and FGFA projects and threatened to break off cooperation. In April 2018, the threats were realized, and India withdrew from the project. The reason for this decision was called the insufficient characteristics of the aircraft and the mismatch of on-board equipment with existing wishes.
Third decade. Series
50 years have passed since the day of the first test flight of the T-1-10 aircraft. During this time, Sukhoi and related organizations managed to conduct a full cycle of flight tests and organize serial production. For a number of reasons, the expected delivery dates of the first production vehicles were repeatedly shifted, but so far all such problems have been resolved.
An experienced Su-57 accompanies the S-70 Hunter UAV. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
In August 2018, the first contract for the serial Su-57 appeared. It provided for the supply of only two cars in the coming years. In June 2019, a larger agreement appeared. The Ministry of Defense ordered 76 aircraft with delivery during 2020-27. It soon became known that the PAK FA program officially entered the stage of mass production of equipment.
Reportedly, the first production Su-57 was built by the beginning of winter 2019. In December, it passed flight tests before being handed over to the customer. Unfortunately, the car never reached the troops. December 24, during another test flight, the fighter crashed; the pilot catapulted. The causes of the incident have not yet been published.
Meanwhile, KnAAZ continues to build a new generation of serial fighters. In the near future is expected to roll out a new aircraft. He will become the first transferred to the troops. According to media reports, the loss of the first serial Su-57 should not have a significant impact on the mass production process.
What will happen in the near future is already clear. The industry will release several dozen new aircraft and transfer them to the armed forces. First, the equipment will go to the Center for combat use and retraining of flight personnel, and then the fighters will disperse to combat units. Thus, in the second half of the twenties, VKSs will receive in sufficient quantities and master fundamentally new equipment with special capabilities.
The first production Su-57 under construction. The car was lost in December 2019. Photo by Paralay.iboards.ru
Second decade in stories The PAK FA / T-50 / Su-57 project is coming to an end with all the desired results. Experienced equipment has passed the necessary tests and is involved in fundamentally new projects, mass production has begun, and the troops are waiting for the first deliveries. The third decade will pass under the banner of mass construction and the annual delivery of large quantities of aircraft.
It should be noted that the process of developing, testing and starting production turned out to be quite long. Moreover, it took longer than originally planned. However, even with all such problems and difficulties, the desired results were nevertheless obtained. Production is deployed, and the videoconferencing team is preparing to take the news.