Friday, February 5, 2010
Russia's future fighter conquers the skies
Russia's prototype fifth-generation fighter made a 45-minute maiden flight on Friday in the Far East, Russian television reported.
The flight had been postponed for 24 hours due to poor weather conditions in Komsomolsk-on-Amur where the prototype is being tested.
"The plane showed a superb performance. It has met all our expectations for the maiden flight," said Olga Kayukova, a spokesperson for the Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer.
Russia has been developing its newest fighter since the 1990s. The country's top military officials earlier said the stealth fighter jet, with a range of up to 5,500 km, would enter service with the Air Force in 2015.
Russia's fifth-generation project is Sukhoi's PAK FA and the current prototype is the T-50. It is designed to compete with the U.S. F-22 Raptor, so far the world's only fifth-generation fighter, and the F-35 Lightning II.
The PAK FA is to be equipped with the most advanced technology and armed with next-generation high-precision weaponry.
India, which has a long history of defense relations with Moscow, remains Russia's sole partner in the project.
India's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) was reported to be seeking a 25% share in design and development in the project. It has also sought to modify Sukhoi's single-seat prototype into the twin-seat fighter India's Air Force wants.