Sukhoi T-50 (PAK FA) 5th Generation Multi-Role Stealth Aircraft
The Sukhoi PAK FA is a Fifth Generation multi-role aircraft intended to compete directly with the American Lockheed F-22 Raptor.
Authored By Dan Alex; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The PAK FA (or "PAK[FA]") is currently in development with the storied Sukhoi OKB, a Russian aircraft firm granted origins in the dark days of World War 2 (1939-1945) and having since contributed many designs to the Soviet Air Force and Army in the Cold War years following. The PAK FA T-50 is categorized as a "Fifth Generation Fighter" recognizing that it will make use of the latest aviation technology, radar-absorbing materials and weaponry to provide for excellent performance, agility and response for the unseen conflicts ahead. As a Fifth Generation fighter, the T-50 is challenging the realm currently dominated by the American Lockheed F-22 "Raptor" air superiority fighter - the world's first 5th gen fighter aircraft. The arrival of the T-50 introduces a second player to the once exclusive "Fifth Generation Club", owned wholly by the United States, while China continues development of their own indigenous 5th gen fighter across the Pacific.
In the Russian, "PAK FA" translates to "Future Air Complex - Tactical Air Forces". The T-50 has been developed somewhat jointly through a partnership between Russia and India to which India has contributed as much as 35% to date. The Indian intent is to benefit from the program by procuring their own PAK FA-based 5th gen fighter in the coming decade. Serial production for the T-50 is slated for 2015 and the first public unveiling of the prototype was shown during the MAKS 2011 Air Show just outside of Moscow in August of 2011. Four prototypes has been completed to date (2013) with a fifth under construction. State trials are expected for 2014.
The Near Future
In the Russian inventory, the PAK FA will move in to take over the roles held by the large Sukhoi Su-27/Su-37 "Flanker" family as well as the lightweight Mikoyan MIG-29 "Fulcrum" (all 4th Generation Fighters). Both of these lines have gone on to see much use in the global market resulting in a myriad of variants and configurations. The PAK FA will also move along the joint Russian-Indian FGFA (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft) program for the near future - an agreement reached between the two nations in 2001 - with results expected to be introduced sometime in 2015. This aircraft and will be based highly on the developmental findings of the Russian PAK FA/T-50 program with India intending to purchasing some 250 FGFA fighters at project's end.