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Video: Sukhoi PAK FA Stealth Fighter Aerobatics

by John Reed on June 10, 2011

Happy Friday. Hope it’s not as hot where you are as it is here in Washington. How about some stealth jet porn to start the weekend. A tipster forwarded this clip showing Russia’s premiere stealth fighter, the Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA performing some decent aerobatics. The jet shown is likely the first of two test jets that have been built; the first one being used for aerodynamic testing while the second is reportedly being used to test out the aircraft’s mission systems. Enjoy!

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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

elportonative77 June 10, 2011 at 11:37 am

61 degrees here in SoCal. Chilling.


Matt June 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Seems strange they are doing low level acrobatic testing of brand new aircraft over populated areas? just me?


Jeff Fraser June 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Eh, its Russia


Stratege June 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm

They probably trust the machine that was produced 1.5 years ago.
Unlikely it's flying over populated areas. Plane was caught over airfield in immediate proximity to civilian buildings . Looks like airfield of Gromov Flight Research Institute.


Richard November 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm

It's Russia.


Guest June 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm

That looked like a split s


mike June 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm

okay if I lived in Russia, and no matter how crappy or depressing my life was, if I looked out the window of my shitty Russian apartment and saw that, I would be so FUCK YEAH MOTHERLAND WWOOOOOO


Stratege June 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Yeah, but i do believe that life of average citizen in Moscow Region is far from being depressing.


superraptor June 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm

It seems strange that the flight envelope of the PAK T-50 is three times ahead of the eternal development F-35. No wonder Russia and India are confident that it will outperform the F-35 in every way. Good nigh US air superiority.


jhm June 12, 2011 at 7:29 pm

well they will have to produce over 2000… ever gonna happen… maybe… will it?…. nope


Mat June 13, 2011 at 7:57 am

how many F35are there now for all the money spent ,PAK FA prototypes were on the other hand is a private venture something US contractors forgot about some time ago. . As for 2000 orders highly doubtfull as the plane simply became to expensive for people just wanting to replace good old F16


usa all the way June 10, 2011 at 3:09 pm

superrapter have u heard of the f22 and the f35 was ment to replace the a10 and f18 witch are manly made for ground targets.the f22 was made to replace the f16 and f15 bolth manly made for air


J Hughes June 10, 2011 at 4:10 pm

So are ALL of Russia's fighter pilots capable of flying for aerobatic teams?


Stratege June 11, 2011 at 2:36 am



Stratege June 11, 2011 at 2:46 am

But i believe that the most of Russia's test pilots are capable of aerobatic flight.


Richard November 12, 2011 at 10:06 pm

All Russian pilots are obligated to push it to the limit FOR THE MOTHERLAND. If they die they are not true Soviets.


brian June 10, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Can does anyone know whether this plane is really stealthy or just more typical Russian BS?


jhm June 12, 2011 at 7:29 pm

well, we will have to wait for another gulf war TT


Stratege June 13, 2011 at 2:03 am

Gulf war was not fair fight where the most modern Western tech faced with obsolete Soviet equipment (including Iraqi tanks made with garbage spare parts). You should know it.


Stratege June 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Brian wrote
"Can does anyone know whether this plane is really stealthy or just more typical Russian BS?"

Well, it has
- 4 internal weapon bays
- stealthy profile
- small vertical tails (adopted for small frontal RCS)
- airframe that was designed and built with a large portion of radar-absorbent composite materials used in its parts (~25% total, ~70% aircraft surface, the numbers are pretty similar to F-22)

- there're no any publicly available information about its radar-absorbent paint/coating (prototypes lacks)
- there're no any information about radar blocker design (prototypes lacks). Yes, T-50 does not have 100%-curved S-shaped intake ducts unlike F-22.
- too many question about future (final production) engine


Brian June 10, 2011 at 8:09 pm

I guess that means no one knowns. It looks kinda stealthy but the Rssians are practicied liars about the capabilities and quality of their hardware. I would suspect given the lack of industrial capacity or materials development that it's not any more stealthy than anything off an F117.


Stratege June 11, 2011 at 2:33 am

Why they are "practicied liars"? If you are talking about Russian weapons manufacturers and their advertising for potential customers, it's all about marketing. It's works same way anywhere with any military equipment around the world.
Russians are truly experts in materials science. Look at their space program – i mean spacecraft, rockets, space stations etc. They have highly developed aerospace industry. If they can build spacecraft why they should not be able to develop advanced composite materials for their fighter jets.


asdf June 11, 2011 at 4:50 am

in the cold war they were known for their brilliant scientstis, but they were shoddy on the final QA (of the final product).


Stratege June 11, 2011 at 7:09 am

It's depends what final product you are talking about.
During the cold war era Soviets produced excellent missiles, supersonic strategic bombers, ICBMs etc. i a mean very sophisticated weapons.

brian June 13, 2011 at 11:22 am

In arms manufacturing its not really the same. Unless your country is populated exclusively with morons, when you purchase equipment worth 100's of millions of dollars you demand detailed specifications, tolerances, performance specifications as well as capabilities. You then test examples of that product thoroughly to make sure the equipment performs as described, then as the equipment is delivered, you make sure the asset works as the demonstrator does BEFORE YOU PAY.

The Russians have boasted about the capabilities of their equipment for the past 100 years but rarely has it actually lived up to marketing. Most countries which can choose because they have the cash, choose western equipment, because saving some money is not worth the risk of loosing a war with a western equipped army


Chimp June 23, 2011 at 3:53 am

It's not the kit, it's how you use it.

Interestingly, weapons are bought by politicians based on media pressure and telephone surveys, and with special attention paid to how much they can get paid. Detailed specifications, tolerances and so on are usually exaggerated.

The results are used by soldiers. Soldiers make do with the crap that the politicians let them have.

I think you'll find that the Russians have done tolerably well with what they've got. A guy called A. Hitler got his arse handed to him, despite his nominally 'better' gear.

Josh June 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Just because their aircraft were produced faster doesnt make them superior to the F22 and F35. If anything, the longer production time and testing and what not is a benefitial factor for americas stealth fighters. Its frustrating with the budget constraints and performance issues, however im confident that the longer it takes for them to roll out of the factory, the safer and better the aircraft will be!!


Brian June 10, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Don't attribute slow development speed to quality control. Slow projects tend to be of lower quality than fast projects, but less so than medium paced projects.


Maxtrue June 10, 2011 at 10:35 pm

That is, the longer it takes and more the increases, the higher profit for the defense contractor. But that is another thread…..


Stratege June 11, 2011 at 2:41 am

PAK-FA program had started in early 2000's. The first serial production fighter jet is planned for 2015+. It's quite long and routine development program.


asdf June 11, 2011 at 4:52 am

don't forget that those are just test aircraft.
and the speed of (initial) production doesn't matter, since they will test first and start it afterwards.
just like the f35 should've been.


Mat June 13, 2011 at 8:23 am

Slow just means more money in cost+ contract ,mach 3+ Blackbird went from drawing board to the sky in a year and it served for quite a long time an is still cutting edge


anon June 13, 2011 at 9:14 am

It's only cutting edge by virtue of speed and the use of titanium to build most of the aircraft. As stated by others, the SR's speed was meant to exploit blip/scan ratio but I wonder if that ever really worked out. That said, none were ever shot down.

Modern stealth aircraft use composites which probably don't do well when subject to high heat at Mach 3.2. It doesn't make modern aircraft less cutting-edge because they are slower. By spec, if you compare the J58 with the F135 the J58's are old and no longer state of the art. Even the F119 produces more thrust. So what makes the SR cutting edge these days?


Matrix_3692 June 10, 2011 at 9:08 pm

well, the typical russian analog ejection system has a higher survival rate than their western digital counterparts


IknowIT June 11, 2011 at 4:13 am

Zzzzzzzzzzz. Pak-FA is a non-story.


Oblat June 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Looks like the PAK-FA is ahead of the F-35 program. There are no videos of the F-35 doing a similar aerobatic routine, because we know when they tried the actuators locked up at 4G.

No problem another 2 year delay replace the electrical system.


William C. June 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Now Oblat is as aviation expert and engineer.

Do enough air show tricks and your plane is automatically the best. Yep.


jhm June 12, 2011 at 7:33 pm

??? just cause its flying around a lot sooner then the f35, is it really better??? remember the mig29? it caused horror inflicting thoughts, but was actually a flop in combat due to inferior training and etc. recently, algeria rejected their order cause the migs were built horiibly. teh US F35s wnt dogfight with russian paks but israelian f35s might fight syrian or iranian pak fas. and there my friend, a typical end result will occur


Stratege June 14, 2011 at 2:08 am

MiG-29 is decent aircraft. It just was not used properly. Not to mention that all of these downed MiG-29s during the engagements in Iraq or Serbia were outnumbered and surpassed technologically (migs were picked up by AWACS and downed by fighters jets of other "heavy" league such as F-15 etc.)
As for Russian-Algerian contract, AFAIK, Algeria rejected MIGs for political reasons in favor of France. Technical problems were just excuse. Anyway, Indian is airforce happy with their Su-30MKIs.


Militarist June 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I do hope some of you are aware of the over-exaggerations Ivan puts on his tech, it's almost as bad as the pentagon. Remember the waves the T-80 and BMP-1 sent throughout the Pentagon and NATO? We all know those were death traps, not to mention their gross "over-sizing" played up by all 3 players.


Mat June 13, 2011 at 8:31 am

BMP1 at the time it appeared was a fuc**ng terminator compared to its western counterpart M113 that was realy a death trap. Until the M1, Leopard ,Challenger apeared basic T72 was quite a machine meant to be used in european theatre en mass with a small crew,fast autoloader ,good frontal armor and a big gun in what is realy a medium tank its oponets at the time (70's) were far from M1 in terms of protection,mobility, firepower and optics


Stratege June 13, 2011 at 11:04 am

When it was introduced, BMP-1 was a truly revolutionary machine in its class.
T-80 was a premier Soviet tank. T-80 had great armor (almost immune to the 105mm – most widely used NATO's AT munition at that time), great firepower, manoeuvrability and transportability. T-80 was a very nice offensive tank, not death trap.


Steve June 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm

The best way to be always prepared is to never underestimate your opponent. It doesn't matter if there has been a history of technological flops in the Russian arsenal, don't let that take your guard down. Always fight a fight, like it's a fight.


Mat June 13, 2011 at 8:11 am

Russian ejector seats are true marvels and outpreform any western counterpart by a wide margin in also unique are helicopter ejection seats

'In total, more than 12,000 K-36 ejection seats have been produced to date and no less than 97% of the airmen who have used them in an emergency have been able to continue their flying careers-the highest percentage in the aviation world'

It is interesting to note that most recently, a program is also underway in the United States to study the effectiveness of Russian egress systems, the exceptional capabilities of which were most dramatically demonstrated to the whole world by an almost miraculous pilot recovery at the Paris Air Show several years ago, when the Russian pilot's MiG-29 aircraft was literally within a few dozen feet of impacting the ground in a semi-inverted, extremely disadvantageous attitude. Of note are the many advanced features of the Russian seats, and their exceptionally favourable recovery rates, which have been until recently all but ignored by Western egress systems researchers. Much work remains to be done on this but there is even talk of the possibility of integrating Russian seats into American aircraft–something that would have been inconceivable pre 1989.''


caveman63 June 22, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Nothing can or will be able to touch the f-22 for years to come. period. end of story. shame gates cancelled it. hopefully new president will reinstate the program. as for the f-35….remember the f-111 program of mcnamara fame? no way the pak engines are stealthy – fully visible for radar to bounce of of them. wonder why you never see pics of the rear of an f-22???


Stratege June 23, 2011 at 9:14 am

"Nothing can or will be able to touch the f-22 for years to come."

That sounds like LM propaganda.

"no way the pak engines are stealthy – fully visible for radar to bounce of of them. wonder why you never see pics of the rear of an f-22??? "

Those engines are not the final production variant. The finalengine would have stealthy design.


souvik July 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

U know dis is wat I like about AMERICANS. They r so overconfident nd have such a superiority complex aobut themselves that they never see dat da rest of the world is or has already overtaken them.
dont believe me just look at ur economical n educational position in da world right now.
nd buddy keep on watchin a planes ass…da fact dat u feel u know a lot about aerodynamics just by lookin at a pic proves ur indifference.
get ur facts straight….study a little..dere is a thing called WIKIPEDIA…study hard bro u will get ur answer about PAK-FA's nozzle design..nd why it is designed like dat
BTW…stop being overconfident bro…dont underestimate others…. !!!
just a friendly advice !!


blight July 26, 2011 at 12:52 pm

"wonder why you never see pics of the rear of an f-22"

Or did you mean some other context?


growlerwiz June 23, 2011 at 2:10 am

It looks like an emergency landing with engine lost traininig…


John Washniwsky August 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Even the most retardet in the US already know that F-22 is a real shit! I am a pilot! Yes, a shit! The propaganda made it for making money and to manipulate the Americans. F-22 cannot participate anywhere, because it is not even a stealthy fighter. It is like many years ago. The US made F-15, than the Russian Su-27. After that US were depressed for 30 years and they had to lie tha the had created 5th generation aircraft. No! Now, the situation is similar. The Russians will have this really beautiful fighter in 2-3 years and will dominate for the next 30 years. … I know that is nasty and you are to proud to aknowidge that but it is a fact! Sorry! The Americans are good but it is very easy for their polititians to manipulate them…


Richard November 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I don't believe anyone informed on the subject could say that the Raptor is ****. We've all seen videos on Youtube and elsewhere and maybe some more lucky among us have seen it in airshows and it's rather impressive, it might not be as fancy-acrobatic as the Flanker but it's at least it's equal if not superior in terms of agility and dogfighting capability thanks to its mind blowing thrust/weight ratio and power mentainance at close turns.

I agree that it's capabilities and performance might be greatly exaggerated in public, for example I highly doubt that it can reach post mach3 speeds being a stealth design (it has to sacrifice in aerodynamics and mechanical endurance of structural materials), or that it can easily outmanuever every other aircraft or that it is invisible even to the eyes of God and can kill every foe before they can see it. This might either due to propaganda or overpatriotic kids spreading rumors or because the lobbyists in the U.S. government don't want to admit that they favored Lockheed over Northrop in the YF-22 vs YF-23 competition and made a wrong choise. Nevertheless that doesn't reduce the fact that the Americans put effort , inginiousness and most importantly ****loads of money to make the best aircraft of its time and that the operational plane is way more refined than the YF-22 prototype.


harryhaller February 24, 2013 at 8:26 am

HAHAHA junk f35 cannot fly in bad weather and they found cracks in turbine blades, whathefuck air superiority……all of thef are GROUNDED!!!! shame for USAF!!


Maxtrue June 10, 2011 at 10:32 pm

The F-35 is a poor replacement for the A10. The idea is not to build an F-22B, but rather more advanced drones and an eventual new bomber.

I'm not sure Panetta is listening.

There is however something rotten with our abandoning a twin engine supercruise stealthy air craft in numbers too low to mean very much while other build upon our innovation. The next generation of hypervelocity missiles will require larger internal storage than the F-22.


asdf June 11, 2011 at 4:49 am

you don't need a strafer for the replacement of the a-10.
an ac with a laser designator (optionally), EO pod and the griffin missile will do.

the a-10 wouldn't be a great CAS tool in an event of a WW3 anyway. have you ever seen a combat tank formation? it's very difficult to strafe (in a single pass), believe me.


Maxtrue June 11, 2011 at 9:29 am

I rather doubt the F-35 can withstand the hits an A10 can take. You also forget the cost benefits as the A10 is a fairly cheap aircraft and by the way, twin engined with the engines more towards the rear.

But then you seem to have hands on experience….


Chimp June 23, 2011 at 3:45 am

A friend commented on RAF Harriers with no guns doing CAS in Afghanistan. His comment was "useful like a chocolate teapot".

There are no tank formations to strafe. Everything is light infantry in cover or displacing and well dispersed.


Mat June 13, 2011 at 8:20 am

Depends what you term shoddy in the end their aircraft have to operate in conditions where western planes would fall apart ,no stone picking prior sorties there ,mudgards,and intake screens . The impotant diference was in the requrements set to designers all rusian planes have to be able to opreate in rough or even unrepared strips that is within the capabiliy of a A10 but not F15 even less so F22 or F35. As for liars i highly doubt LM ,GE ,Boeing can be topped ,just remember what a cheap plane JSF will be cheaper too buy & operate than legarcy fighters,invisigle to radar(yeah right with all sorts of bulges apearing in its final shape).


Stratege June 13, 2011 at 10:49 am

"This appears to be the first time we've seen a PAK-FA/T-50 using its 3D TVC system in testing. "

I think they used 3D TVC year ago at the T-50-1 presentation for Putin (June 2010).

"If they can make it work with the large movable LEX and the all moving tails in a production fighter its going to be a nightmare to tackle WVR"

Sure, all of these control surfaces and engine are integrated into flight control system. Also, Russians would integrated advanced anti-g suite into FCS.They demonstrated newly-developed anti-g suit that was designed for PAK-FA program. Integrated computer controlled pilot supporting system prevents loss of consciousness of the pilot on extremely high-G maneuvering. It's helps keep up proper breathing and blood circulation (it can pressure necessary parts of pilot body by signal from FCS)
Seems that T-50's primary design concept optimized for super manoeuvrability and supersonic (supercruise) speeds.


Riceball June 13, 2011 at 11:04 am

Not to mention that the A-10 can carry a whole lot of ordnance and can loiter for a lot longer than any other jet fighter made or that's due to come out.


Stratege June 13, 2011 at 11:24 am

T-50/PAK-FA is not exception here. It can operate from rough airfields with a short runway. They want aircraft carrier variant too.


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