Aviation News

August 18, 2011

Russian Sukhoi T-50 Stealth Fighter Jet Performs First Public Flight Demo

Russia’s Sukhoi T-50 5th generation fighter performed its first demonstration flight at the 10th International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS 2011 on Wednesday, Russian agencies reported.

The flight was observed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and other dignitaries who attended the MAKS show to address the participants and guests as well as to get familiarized with the exposition of Russian and foreign aerospace equipment, Itar-Tass news agency reported.

However, the pilots did not perform any aerobatic stunts aboard the new T-50 stealth fighter because the plane is still going through a series of test flights.

The T-50 aircraft, developed under the program Future Aviation System for Tactical Air Force (PAK-FA) at the Sukhoi OKB, is Russia’s first new major combat aircraft designed since the fall of the Soviet Union. Since the 1980s, the Russian Air Force has relied on aircraft which are now obsolete.

An operational fighter based on the T-50 will be put into service possibly as soon as 2015, becoming the Russian Air Force’s first stealth fighter which features low-observable technology that makes it almost impossible to detect with radar.

Like its U.S. counterpart, the F-22 Raptor, the T-50 will be able to cruise at supersonic speeds and be capable of pulling high-G maneuvers that older aircraft cannot match thanks to thrust-vectoring exhaust nozzles and a hi-tech flight control system.

The T-50 made its first flight at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur factory airfield in Siberia in January, and since then two prototypes have been undergoing flight tests at the Zhukovsky flight test center near Moscow.

MAKS is an international air show held since 1992 on Zhukovskiy Lll air field near the Russian capital of Moscow. It is one of the world’s largest air forums which its main goal is to demonstrate the latest achievement of Russian and world aviation industry.

Although it started as an entertainment event, MAKS is also important for establishing business contacts and development of industrial cooperation between Russia and foreign aerospace manufacturers.