Moscow has touted the capabilities of its fifth-generation Sukhoi Su-57 multirole fighter for nearly a decade. While development of the aircraft really started in 2002, progress was slowed down due to financial constraints in Russia and it wasn’t until January 2010 that the fighter even made its first flight.
Russian state tech conglomerate Rostec announced this week that it is now on track to deliver more than seventy Su-57s to the Russian Air Force by 2027. Several will even be delivered this year. Rostec’s comments were in response to an article in National interest, who said the fifth-generation stealth fighter “is unlikely to enter operational service until 2027”.
Rostec’s statement was reported by TASS, a Russian government-owned news agency.
“Russian fifth-generation planes don’t make the West feel comfortable,” Rostec said in a statement. reported by TASS. “The Su-57 and Checkmate fighters regularly become the target of false news. False facts that have nothing to do with reality are published. The aircraft is already mass-produced and delivered! More than 70 planes will be delivered by 2027, including several fighters this year.
Most of the media indicate that only a dozen planes were delivered last year. This includes 10 test prototypes and two that were produced in series. It is not known how many, if any, were actually delivered in 2021. TASS said the Russian Aerospace Force will receive 22 Su-57 fighters by the end of 2024 and 76 by 2028.
Russia has repeatedly proclaimed that the plane’s arrival is pending, but its record on the matter remains fragile.
The date of arrival of the plane remains uncertain. Delays with new military equipment are common. However, the Su-57 must be considered a high performance aircraft.
The Sukhoi Su-57 multirole fighter is designed to destroy all types of air, land and naval targets. The fighter plane features stealth technology with wide use of composite materials. It is also capable of reaching supersonic cruising speed and is fitted with the most advanced on-board radio-electronic equipment, including a powerful on-board computer (called a second electronic pilot), while the aircraft’s radar system is distributed over his body. The Su-57’s armament is also placed inside its fuselage, much like the American-made F-35 Lightning II.
The cost of the Su-57 remained a problem for Moscow. At an approximate cost per model of around $ 40 million, the Su-57 packs sophisticated avionics, cutting-edge aerodynamics, and a formidable suite of weapons into one relatively affordable package. Even then, the Su-57 could still occupy a good part of Russian defense spending. The Kremlin was keen to compensate as much as possible with a series of large-scale export contracts, but few foreign buyers have taken the plunge. This could be one of the factors explaining why the arrival of the plane remains on hold.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to over four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites. He writes regularly on military small arms and is the author of several books on military hairstyles, including A gallery of military hairstyles, which is available on Amazon.com.