Russia’s 5G fighter makes first demonstration flight

August 18th, 2011 - 11:10 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Aug 18 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia’s Sukhoi T-50 fifth generation fighter performed its first demonstration flight at an international aviation show Wednesday.

Experts at the MAKS 2011 International Aviation and Space Show said the pilots did not performed any acrobatic stunts because the plane was still going through a series of test flights.

It was important for the manufacturers to show that “the plane no longer exists just on paper, but is fleshed out in metal and up in the air”.

The T-50, developed under the programme Future Aviation System for Tactical Air Force at Sukhoi, will be the jewel in the Russian air force crown. The service has relied on the Mikoyan MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-27 family of combat aircraft as the core of its fighter force since the mid-1980s, but these aircraft are seen as approaching obsolescence, officials said.

The T-50 is Russia’s first new major combat aircraft designed since the fall of the Soviet Union.

When an operational fighter based on it is put into service, possibly as soon as 2015, it will be the Russian Air Force’s first stealth aircraft, featuring low-observable technology that makes it almost impossible to detect with radar.

Like its US counterpart, the F-22 Raptor, it will be able to cruise at supersonic speeds, and be capable of pulling high-G manoeuvres 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.

–IANS/RIA Novosti
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