Russia is to order 12 of the fifth generation Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter aircraft this year, and expects 14 Su-30SM fighters to be delivered in 2018, the deputy defense minister said.
“We are buying Su-57 jets for test combat use. First stage state trials are over,” Deputy defense minister Yuri Borisov said on Thursday, February 8, Tass reported. “This year, we will sign a contract for the first batch of 12 Su-57 fighter jets for the Armed Forces.”
According to Tass, Borisov said the first two aircraft may enter service in 2019, and that ten out of the 12 planes built so far are undergoing tests.
It is unclear which engine will be fitted to the production models built for the Russian air force. The twin-engined Su-57 flew for 17 minutes with one new engine on December 5.
Referring to the new engine’s performance, Borisov said it was difficult to comment because there has only been a single flight. “Everything seems to be all right. But you know, it is a series of trials. Many flights are to be performed. As a rule, such trials take two or three years,” he said.
The Su-57 – otherwise known as T-50 and PAK-FA – which first flew in 2010, features radar and infrared stealth technology, along with internal weapons bays and active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and is intended to replace Russia’s MiG-29s and Su-27s.
Su-30SM deliveries expected in 2018, upgraded aircraft in 2019
Borisov also said that the defense ministry expects to receive 14 Su-30SM fighter jets and ten Yak-130 trainers in 2018.
“This year’s production program includes only 24 planes: 10 Yak-130 planes, 12 Su-30SM jets for the Russian aerospace forces and two for the navy,” Borisov said.
“As for Yak-130 planes, ninety-two are already operating. We have plans to buy more. We will discuss a long-term contract. We plan to sign it this year,” he said.
According to Tass, Borisov said that a large contract for Su-30SMs will be signed.
The minister also said upgrade work on in-service Su-30SMs is also expected to begin this year, with the upgraded aircraft expected to enter army service in 2019.
“We plan to kick off modernization this year, complete its first stage in 2019 and then start [deliveries of] upgraded vehicles,” Borisov said.
“They performed in the best possible way in Syria and proved all their capabilities. This aircraft is to be upgraded in terms of import substitution and adaptation of new air weapons,” Borisov said.
Borisov said there are currently 100 Su-30SM aircraft in Russia’s inventory, and that they are expected to operate for 40 years.
The two-seat Su-30SM – the latest iteration of the Su-30 – is a super-maneuverable multi-purpose fighter jet designed for air superiority as well as ground attack roles.
The Yak-130 is a two-seat jet fighter trainer jet designed to train pilots to fly fourth and fifth generation aircraft.