The other day, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force issued a statement that Russia had already begun to test the fifth and sixth flight samples of the newest T-50 fighter (PAK FA), and also expressed confidence that by the start of mass production the aircraft would be taken to armament, with the result that the air force units will go from 2015 to 450 fighters. When it comes to aircraft of a new generation, America also does not want to stand aside: a spokesman for the US Department of Defense said that the causes of problems in the newest F-600 have already been identified, in light of which the Pentagon allowed the Air Force to resume flights of these machines. At the same time, the US Army is ready to allocate 35 billions of dollars for the modernization of F-6.9 fighters, the production of which was previously suspended. Bald Eagle and Polar Bear, the US Army and the Russian Army are the best in the world. And their newest fighters F-22, F-22 and T-35, developed using low-visibility technologies (according to Western European standards, these are 50 generation fighters, according to Soviet-Russian standards, these are 4 generation fighters) - a direct reflection real military power of each of these powers. Which planes better show themselves in the sky, what are the advantages and weak points of each model?
Sea claw with steel claws
One F-22 is enough to shoot down the 5 of third-generation aircraft.
In the 80 of the 20th century, the Soviet Union held the leading position in the sky at the expense of such powerful third-generation machines as the MiG-29 and Su-27, which were opposed to American fighters of the third generation F-15 and F-16 at that time. To capture superiority in the sky, the Pentagon was the first to follow the path of developing a new, fourth-generation fighter. In 80, the task was set; by 90, the development plan was approved. The new aircraft received the designation F-22 "Raptor". In 1997, the flight tests of the first model of this aircraft successfully passed; in 2003, the first batch of serial Raptors was already handed over. Distinctive features of the F-22 were its high maneuverability, supersonic cruising speed, compliance with the idea of "first discovered - first struck," and low visibility. Compared to previous generation combat aircraft, this was a huge leap forward.
Pentagon officials have said that one F-22 can handle 10 Soviet 3 generation fighters; later began to talk about 5 aircraft. The development of this fighter closely watched the whole world. The qualities combined in it became a model for all subsequent developments of the 4 generation fighter jets, one way or another, all other military powers began to copy it. Up to 2013, the F-22 remained the only 4 generation fighter in the world to be in service. Since the F-22 is such a great plane, who wouldn't want to have one in its army? However, America strictly forbade the export of these fighters, treating them as a jewel that cannot be sold to the right and left. To sweeten the pill for its allies, the United States began developing another aircraft that could be handed over to others: this is how work began on another 4 generation fighter, the F-35 Lightning. In aerial combat, the new machine showed itself somewhat worse than the F-22, but the Lightnings were better suited to perform such tasks as striking ground targets. The Pentagon’s plan was simple: to capture superiority in the air with the help of the F-22 in the zone of military operations, and to strike the enemy at F-35. A lot of countries participated in the development of Lightnings, including America, the UK, Canada, Australia and Italy. The calculation was initially made on the fact that the F-35 will become the main combat aircraft of the first half of the XXI century for America and all its allies; one US army plans to buy up to 2400 machines, while its NATO allies and Japan are going to buy up to 700 aircraft.
Who better show themselves in the sky?
Air combat between the United States and Russia.
Who will prevail if the newest fighters of Russia and America converge in air combat? In fact, discussing this issue, we can now only make assumptions, since the US F-22 has long been in service, and the Russian T-50 is still in the flight test stage. We do not yet have a clear idea of the real capabilities of the Russian fighter. If we talk about the design, the length of the hull, the span and the wing area of the Russian aircraft is slightly larger than that of the Raptor, however, the T-50 turns out to be quite light, making it possible to conclude that the Russian fighter will be quite maneuverable. The maximum speed of the F-22 is 2400 km / h, and the Russian aircraft can, according to preliminary estimates, reach the speed of 2600 km / h, however, the T-50 can play Raptor at cruising speed. As the Russian side claims, the T-50 can carry a huge amount of fuel, thanks to which it will also surpass the F-22 both in practical range and in combat radius. If we talk about weapons, then the Russian machine, in addition to the cannon for conducting short-range air combat and short-range and medium-range missiles, will also be equipped with ultra-long-range air-to-air missiles capable of hitting targets at a distance over 400 km. It should be remembered that at the moment for the F-22 the main means of dealing with an air enemy are only short-range and medium-range missiles. Such a situation could lead to the fact that in the T-50 fight with the F-22, the Russian fighter will have the advantage of a first strike. However, the Russian plane also has its weak points.
First, it is electronic navigation equipment: in this field, Soviet and Russian developments have always been inferior to their American counterparts. The new T-50 will be equipped with an advanced radar system and will be able to detect targets at a distance of more than 400 km, simultaneously tracking air targets to 60 and hitting more 16, however, despite the fact that Russian developers have some progress in this area, the onboard radio-electronic equipment responsible for the collection and processing of information, active noise protection and auto-adjustment, still leaves much to be desired. On the F-22 put multifunction multifrequency avionics, while the protective systems T-50 do not cover the entire width of the frequency spectrum. If we talk about the use of stealth technology, which has become a feature of all fourth-generation aircraft, here the Russian fighter is also somewhat inferior to its American counterparts. The large wingspan makes the aircraft more maneuverable, but at the same time increases the risk of detection.
The situation is similar with the structure of the tail fairing: for excellent maneuverability, you have to pay less invisibility. Without a doubt, the T-50 is a magnificent aircraft; Having reduced the effective scattering area (ESR) of this fighter to 0.5 m², Russian engineers have done an incredible job. However, it is still more than the F-22: according to official data, when using the same radar, the distance at which the Russian fighter is detected is twice as large as that of the Raptor. There are, however, those specialists who believe that, thanks to the design features of the T-50, in real combat conditions will be less noticeable than the American fighter. Therefore, in general, we can draw the following conclusion: if we take the combat characteristics of the aircraft directly (top speed, fire power), then the T-50 turns out to be the best choice, but if we look at other indicators (stealth, electronic stuffing), the Russian fighter loses to the Raptor ". What will be the outcome of a real battle, while no one can predict. However, we should not forget that the F-22 has been developed and improved for more than a dozen years. Beating out with all my might, and getting an airplane at the exit, which can barely compete with a car twenty years ago, is not the most enviable position for the Russian military.
Lightning F-35 also applies to fifth-generation aircraft, but we need to understand that this is just a cheaper multi-role fighter that was designed to appease allies and strike ground targets. Stealth, speed, fighting efficiency - in all these parameters "Lightning" is not at all like the Raptors. Perhaps, in comparison with the new Russian F-35 fighter, it will be more effective with the defeat of ground and naval targets, but if these fighters converge in a fight, the F-35 is doomed to instant death.
Mighty polar bear
T-50 restore the greatness and authority of the Russian Air Force
While the US captured supremacy in the sky with the help of the newest F-22, Russia was overwhelmed by adversity: the collapse of the Soviet Union sharply reduced the country's military power, the collapse of the entire economic system brought promising military developments to a standstill. After Putin came to power, the economic situation in the country improved, but the Russian army was by no means richer. How in such conditions to find the enormous funds necessary to continue the development of its own fighter of a new generation? And then, fortunately for Russia, India offered its help. India, too, is dreaming of becoming a superpower, so the two countries quickly reached a compromise and began to jointly develop the T-50 fighter. What is the format of this "collaboration"? All key technologies are in the hands of Russian developers, India only needs to pay bills.
The path of the F-22 from the first sketches to the conveyor took 20 years. Russia was pushed by the need to reduce the technological gap, so the development was carried out as soon as possible. Initially, it was assumed that the first samples of fighters will be released for flight tests already in 2008, however, due to economic and technological difficulties, the development was delayed over and over again. Ultimately, the first test sample was made in the 2010 year. The development of T-50 is still at the testing stage, so we can only speculate about its real characteristics. However, due to the fact that this aircraft saw the light on the 10 years later, the Raptor, the world community is inclined to believe that its flight performance is unlikely to be much worse than the American fighter. The T-50 will restore the greatness and prestige of the Russian Air Force: a competitor to American aircraft will reappear in the sky.
|Comparing the parameters of the new generation aircraft|
|Parameter||T-50 (PAK FA)||F-22||F-35|
|Start of development||OK. 1980||OK. 1996||OK. 2000|
|First flight tests||2010||1997||2006|
|Length||22 m||18.92 m||15.37 m|
|Wingspan||14.2 m||13.56 m||10.65 m|
|Empty weight||17.5 t||19.7 t||12 t|
|Cruising speed||1400 km / h||1963 km / h||1100 km / h|
|Speed limit||2600 km / h||2410 km / h||1930 km / h|
|Unit cost||250 million||350 million||200 million|
|nearly invisible||Inferior with F-22||High||High|
The frightening fighters of the new generation - of course, on the battlefields they represent a formidable force. However, it has long been the custom that you have to pay for all the good, and if you want to own such advanced weaponswill have to seriously fork out. Take for example the American F-22 fighter. Already, the cost of manufacturing one aircraft exceeds 150 million dollars, but if we take into account the costs of ensuring production safety and the costs of design work, the cost of one fighter plane will exceed 350 million dollars - money that you can buy more than 10 tons pure gold. However, this is not the last time you have to open a wallet: a constant expense item will be aircraft maintenance. For every hour spent in the air, F-22 has 30 hours of maintenance, which is why one hour of its flight costs the taxpayers in 40 more than thousands of dollars. The cockpit light costs several million dollars, but it also needs to be replaced every 18 months.
The most important thing is the fact that such expenditures do not guarantee perfect combat capability. “Raptor” is the trump card of the American army, but for a hundred thousand hours spent in the sky, there are 4 crashed aircraft. It turns out that the most expensive aircraft in the US Air Force - the aircraft with the highest failure rate. In 2008, the fighter’s crash was due to the fact that a piece of stealth cover got into the aircraft engine, which turned out to be of insufficient quality. It was subsequently discovered that a fighter also had a defect in the oxygen supply system, which could have caused the death of pilots in the 2009 and 2010 years. Because of this, the leadership of the American army was forced to ban flights at a height above 7600 m (while the theoretical fighter ceiling is 18000 m). In the end, in 2011, the high cost of fighter manufacturing forced the US government to suspend the production of Raptors. At this point, the cost of the development program has already reached 65 billion dollars. However, as we know, the modernization program for these fighters was announced in 2013: this means that 6.9 billions more will be thrown into this bottomless pit. The United States learned this lesson well and began developing a cheaper, new-generation universal fighter - the F-35. Initially, the price of one aircraft should not exceed 30 million dollars. Trying to make the plane as cheap as possible, the Americans were ready to go even to reduce its speed and other flight performance. What do we see in the end? The complex construction plus inflation did the trick: the cost of manufacturing Lightnings was constantly growing, approaching 2012 in the year to 200 million dollars. America’s allies spent a long time indulging in empty hopes that they would be able to get a great plane for a low price, but the increasing cost of production led many of them to talk about refusing to participate in the program or cutting the procurement plan. The number of orders decreased, and this again only increased the cost of the fighter.
"Lightning" hit a kind of vicious circle. The Russian T-50 is still at the testing stage, so Russia’s spending is still less than US spending, but in the next ten years Moscow plans to invest about 2-3 billions of dollars in its fighter. At the same time, according to the plan of the Indian side, for twenty years, India will spend 144 planes in the purchase of 35 billions of dollars. It turns out that the price of one fighter hovers around 200 million dollars. This, of course, is cheaper than the F-22, but still more expensive than the F-35, and in general a lot. However, experience shows that when Russia negotiates with India on the sale of any weapons, the product eventually becomes more and more expensive, so you can be sure that 200 million dollars - the price is not final.