Friday, July 23, 2010
PAK FA is Ready to Execute a Complete Program of Flight Trials
Sukhoi Company has completed the preliminary on-land and in-flight activities which involved all three engineering prototypes of the Frontline Aviation Advanced Airborne Complex (PAK FA) – the 5th-generation aircraft.
These prototypes were used for test-bed strength tests, on-land optimization of fuel systems and other work towards flight trials. The flying prototype has made 16 flights. Today, the optimization of aircraft and its safety systems enables execution of a complete program of flight trials, announced the Director General of Sukhoi Mikhail Pogosyan today at the press conference at the Farnborough International Airshow-2010 Press Center.
The PAK FA took to the air on January 29 in Komsomolsk-na-Amure. The acceptance trials of the flying prototype were fully completed in late March. In April the first flying prototype of the fighter and the avionics testbed used for systems optimization before flight trials were delivered to the flying test center of the OKB Sukhoi Experimental Design Bureau in Zhukovsky near Moscow.
Upon completion of the required on-bed preliminary tests of the systems, including the static example’s strength testing, on-land optimization of the avionics testbed and of the flying prototype, on April 29 the aircraft started preliminary tests.
Compared to the previous generation fighters, the PAK FA features a number of unique capabilities, including the functions of a strike aircraft and fighter. The fifth-generation aircraft is fitted with essentially new avionics integrating the function of “an electronic pilot” and with an advanced phased antenna array radar. This considerably reduces the pilot fatigue, enabling the pilot to concentrate on performance of a tactical mission.
The new aircraft’s onboard equipment makes it possible to exchange information in the real time mode both with on-land control stations and with aviation group aircraft. The use of composite materials and innovative technologies, and the aerodynamic streamlining ensure unprecedented radar, optic and infrared stealthiness. This significantly enhances the operational capability against aerial and ground targets in all weathers, day and night.
Vladimir Popovkin, the Russian First Deputy Defense Minister, in his interview to the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper, estimated the Russian Air Force’s demand for the 5th-generation fighters at 50 to 100 units. It is planned to complete all tests of the PAK FA airframe in 2011-2012, and to sign a contract in 2013 for a pilot lot of ten aircraft for testing the model’s entire weapons suite.