Russia showed off its fifth-generation stealth fighter this week at the MAKS air show outside Moscow, according to news reports.
The T-50 is one of several prototypes developed by Sukhoi, a subsidiary of United Aircraft Corp., as part of the Russian air force’s PAK-FA program. The twin-engine fighter is designed to compete against such U.S. military aircraft as the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, both of which are made by Lockheed Martin Corp.
The multi-role T-50 has been a regular at MAKS after making its first appearance at the biennial air show in 2011. Similar to previous appearances, it performed a series of stunts, including the Pougachev’s cobra, in which the pilot raises the nose of the aircraft beyond the vertical position while maintaining constant altitude; the kulbit, in which the pilot flies a tight loop; the dead leaf, in which the pilot performs a wing-level stall; and tail-dive, in which the pilot flies vertical until losing forward momentum and falls backwards, according to an article by the state-owned RT.com.
Here’s a video of the aircraft performing at this year’s MAKS:
While the T-50 didn’t fly at this year’s Paris Air Show, the president of United Aircraft, Yuri Slyusar, said three more of the fighters will be transferred to the Russian air force in late 2016 or early 2017 as part of a test program, bringing the total number to eight. While the T-50 has experienced some development challenges such as engine flameouts, the aircraft is performing well in tests, Slyusar said.
The governments of Russia and India have partnered to develop an export version of the aircraft. Russian officials have trained their Indian counterparts and supplied with them data and software to work on research and development.
The T-50 is designed to carry a suite of internal and external weapons, including an internally mounted 30mm cannon, air-to-air missiles such as the K-77M medium-range missile and K-74M2 short-range missile, as well as air-to-ground ordnance such as the Kh-38M missile, KAB-500 bomb, even the Kh-35UE anti-ship missile.
The following illustration shows all the weapons that can be carried by the next-generation fighter, according to infographicposter.com: