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Russia’s new SU T-50 fifth generation fighter gets new engine and new name

Alexander Mercouris

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Certain Russian publications have in recent weeks begun referring to Russia’s new fifth generation fighter – hitherto known as the “SU T50” (a designation designating a test aircraft) – as “SU-57”, suggesting that this may be the aircraft’s name when it enters service with the Russian Aerospace Forces.

This has not so far been definitely confirmed.  Moreover the name has a much higher number – “57” – than might have been expected.

Russian fighter jets are given numbers depending on their place in the sequence of aircraft designed by a design bureau that enter service.  Thus the “SU-7” of the 1950s is obviously an older aircraft than the “SU-27” of the 1980s, with the difference in the numbers indicating the number of designs the bureau – in this instance the Sukhoi bureau – has developed between the two aircraft.

This is not a rigid rule, and it is complicated by the fact that the Russians tend to use odd numbers for fighter aircraft with a crew of one and even numbers for aircraft with a crew of more than one, though this is not a rigid rule either.

As it happens we know that between the entry of the SU-7 into service in the 1950s and the appearance of the SU-27 in the 1980s the Sukhoi bureau designed and brought into service the following aircraft: SU-9, SU-11, SU-15, SU-17, SU-20, SU-22, SU-24 and SU-25.

The surprisingly large difference in the number used for the last Sukhoi fighter jet to enter service – SU-35 – and that allegedly used by the final version of the SU T50 – SU-57 – may indicate the great number of failed and abortive projects in which the Sukhoi bureau was involved during the crisis years of the 1990s and early 2000s, only some of which are known about.  However the reported name – “SU-57” – could be wrong, or – more plausibly – it might be an unofficial name used by the Sukhoi bureau, in which case the name the aircraft will eventually be given by the Russian Aerospace Forces might be completely different.

In view of this uncertainty I will stick to using the SU T50 designation for the time being.

What is beyond doubt is that the SU T50 is now about to start testing with its new engine, which is in fact its definitive engine which has been specifically designed for it.

There is very little information about this engine, with the Russians not even disclosing its proper name (the Russians refer to it in open publications as “item 30”).

What is however known about this new engine is that it is entirely new, that is the first completely new engine for a fighter jet designed in Russia since the USSR’s fall, that it has been developed by the Saturn Engine Design Bureau in Rybinsk (the design bureau responsible for all engines used by Sukhoi fighter jets since the 1950s) and that it is significantly more powerful than the AL-41F1 engine the SU T50 has been flying with up to now.

The AL-41F1 is in fact an advanced derivative of the AL-31 engine developed in the 1970s for the SU-27 fighter.  The SU T50 has up to now being flying with this engine because in a break with traditional Russian practice the Russians initiated development of the SU T50 some years before the new “item 30” engine was ready.

The new “item 30” engine is said to be far more powerful and far more efficient than the AL-41F1, as is to be expected of a wholly new engine having no connection to the AL-31/AL-41 family of engines which have their roots in the 1970s.

The best indication of how much more powerful and efficient the new engine is has been provided in a detailed description of the SU T50 provided by the official Russian news agency TASS.

This puts the thrust ratings of the AL-41F1 at 8,800 kgf and at 14,500 kgf when using an afterburner. By contrast the thrust ratings of the new “item 30” engine are put at 11,000 kfg and at 18,000 kgf when using an afterburner.

This is a very significant increase in thrust.  It is likely that the new engine is also significantly lighter and more fuel efficient than the older AL-41F1.

Apparently the SU T50 is already capable of supersonic flight with its current AL-41F1 engines even when they are being used without afterburner – what is known as “supercruise”.   Obviously the flight performance of the SU T50 will increase very considerably once it is powered by the new engine.

Recently there has been uncertainty as to the precise date when the SU T50 will enter service.

There are reports that on 23rd March 2015 Russian Deputy Defence Minister Yury Borisov visited the factory in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Russia’s Far East where Sukhoi fighters are built and told the workforce that the Russian Aerospace Forces would delay entry of the SU T50 into service because the highly effective SU-35 and SU-30 fighters already in service and being built at the factory offered a more cost effective solution to their current needs.

Borisov is supposed to have said that the Russian Aerospace Forces would initially only buy one squadron of 12 SU T50 aircraft using the current AL-41F1 engine – to be delivered apparently next year ie. in 2018 – and would instead buy more SU-35s and SU-30s, with total orders for the SU-35 and the SU-30 being put at 98 aircraft and 116 aircraft respectively.

Full service entry of the SU T50, and large orders for the aircraft, would in the meantime be delayed until the “item 30” engine is ready, with all SU T50 aircraft entering front line service with the Russian Aerospace Forces using only this engine.

This makes sense.  It should not be seen so much as an economy measure – as most commentators suppose – but rather as a response to the earlier than expected availability of the “item 30” engine, whose development seems to have gone smoother and faster than expected.

Given the availability of the new engine and the dramatic improvement in performance it offers, it makes perfect sense to delay service of the SU T50 until the new engine is fully ready and is being produced in quantity.

In the meantime it also makes sense to build more of the current highly potent and fully perfected SU-35s and SU-30s rather than accept into service an incomplete SU T50 whose performance is compromised by use of the older AL-41F1 engine.

Apparently the plan now is for the SU T50 to begin entering service in quantity with the new engine in 2021 with the initial order being apparently set at 60.  The Aerospace Forces will use the intervening period to familiarise themselves fully with the new aircraft by working out on the test squadron of 12 which will be provided to them next year.

This is consistent with the conservative Russian approach, which in contrast to the US avoids pressing into service new aircraft or weapons systems before they have been fully perfected and all the bugs in them have been ironed out.

This approach is not only effective in performance terms – since it ensures that new aircraft and weapons systems are fully combat capable when they enter service – but has repeatedly been shown to be more cost effective as well.  Suffice to say that many of the US’s recent procurement disasters have been caused by the over hasty entry into service of advanced new weapons systems before their technology has fully matured, and before all the problems connected with them have been ironed out.

In the meantime all comparisons between the US’s F-22 and F-35 fighters and the SU T50 using its current AL-41F1 engines – which is to say nearly all of them – are now valueless since the SU T50 will not enter service with these engines.

A more valid point critics of the SU T50 programme can make is that the Russians are bringing their fifth generation fighter much later into service than the Americans.  Suffice to say that the F-22 Raptor’s entry into service was in 2005, whilst the SU T50 is not now expected to enter service before 2021.

This delay is the direct result of the massive disruption to Russia’s aerospace industry caused by the crisis of the 1990s and early 2000s.  The fact the Russians have only now successfully matched their fifth generation fighter with its definitive “item 30” engine – in stark contrast to their historic practice, which is to develop the engine first – is a reflection of this disruption, which their industry has only now finally overcome.

The one big advantage for the Russians from this delay is that their SU T50 fifth generation fighter will be a significantly more modern aircraft when it enters service than its closest US analogue: the F-22 Raptor.  As a result the SU T50 will be able to benefit from the very considerable advances in technology which have taken place since the first fifth generation fighter – the US’s F-22 Raptor – entered service in 2005.

I will finish with a video of the highly impressive flight display the SU T50 flight put on at the recent MAKS 2017 airshow in Moscow in June this year.  Note that the aircraft is flying with its current AL-41F1 engine.  What sort of flight display it will put on when it is flying with its definitive “item 30” engine one can only imagine

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In the meantime the F35 is ruining the economy of Italy and the few other nations that stayed in the (imposed) program ! As the designer of the F16 said, it is a “lemon”, a real failure !
Of course Lockheed had to buy our politicians in the same way they did in the 60s (and were found out) to impose the C130 when we had our own european alternatives !
We are the vassals of the United Snakes of Amerikkka and paying dearly the privilege !

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Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Authored by Caitlin Johnstone:


The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.

“Russia’s move towards using humour to influence its campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Robinson explains, without speculating as to why Russians might have suddenly begun laughing at their western accusers. She gives no consideration to the possibility that the tightly knit alliance of western nations who suddenly began hysterically shrieking about Russia two years ago have simply gotten much more ridiculous and easier to make fun of during that time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the emergence of a demented media environment wherein everything around the world from French protests to American culture wars to British discontent with the European Union gets blamed on Russia without any facts or evidence. Wherein BBC reporters now correct guests and caution them against voicing skepticism of anti-Russia narratives because the UK is in “an information war” with that nation. Wherein the same cable news Russiagate pundit can claim that both Rex Tillerson’s hiring and his later firing were the result of a Russian conspiracy to benefit the Kremlin. Wherein mainstream outlets can circulate blatantly false information about Julian Assange and unnamed “Russians” and then blame the falseness of that reporting on Russian disinformation. Wherein Pokemon Go, cutesy Facebook memes and $4,700 in Google ads are sincerely cited as methods by which Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion presidential campaign was outdone. Wherein conspiracy theories that Putin has infiltrated the highest levels of the US government have been blaring on mainstream headline news for two years with absolutely nothing to show for it to this day.

Nope, the only possibility is that the Kremlin suddenly figured out that humor is a thing.

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself. The hypocrisy is so cartoonish, the emotions are so breathlessly over-the-top, the stories so riddled with plot holes and the agendas underlying them so glaringly obvious that they translate very easily into laughs. I myself recently authored a satire piece that a lot of people loved and which got picked up by numerous alternative media outlets, and all I did was write down all the various escalations this administration has made against Russia as though they were commands being given to Trump by Putin. It was extremely easy to write, and it was pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. And it didn’t take any Kremlin rubles or dezinformatsiya from St Petersburg to figure out how to write it.

“Ben Nimmo, an Atlantic Council researcher on Russian disinformation, told the BBC that attempts to create funny memes were part of the strategy as ‘disinformation for the information age’,” the article warns. Nimmo, ironically, is himself intimately involved with the British domestic disinformation firm Integrity Initiative, whose shady government-sponsored psyops against the Labour Party have sparked a national scandal that is likely far from reaching peak intensity.

“Most comedy programmes on Russian state television these days are anodyne affairs which either do not touch on political topics, or direct humour at the Kremlin’s perceived enemies abroad,” Robinson writes, which I found funny since I’d just recently read an excellent essay by Michael Tracey titled “Why has late night swapped laughs for lusting after Mueller?”

“If the late night ‘comedy’ of the Trump era has something resembling a ‘message,’ it’s that large segments of the nation’s liberal TV viewership are nervously tracking every Russia development with a passion that cannot be conducive to mental health – or for that matter, political efficacy,” Tracey writes, documenting numerous examples of the ways late night comedy now has audiences cheering for a US intelligence insider and Bush appointee instead of challenging power-serving media orthodoxies as programs like The Daily Show once did.

If you wanted the opposite of “anodyne affairs”, it would be comedians ridiculing the way all the establishment talking heads are manipulating their audiences into supporting the US intelligence community and FBI insiders. It would be excoriating the media environment in which unfathomably powerful world-dominating government agencies are subject to less scrutiny and criticism than a man trapped in an embassy who published inconvenient facts about those agencies. It certainly wouldn’t be the cast of Saturday Night Live singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to a framed portrait if Robert Mueller wearing a Santa hat. It doesn’t get much more anodyne than that.

Russia makes fun of western establishment narratives about it because those narratives are so incredibly easy to make fun of that they are essentially asking for it, and the nerdy way empire loyalists are suddenly crying victim about it is itself more comedy. When Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr began insinuating that RT covering standard newsworthy people like Julian Assange and Nigel Farage was a conspiracy to “boost” those people for the advancement of Russian agendas instead of a news outlet doing the thing that news reporting is, RT rightly made fun of her for it. Cadwalladr reacted to RT’s mockery with a claim that she was a victim of “attacks”, instead of the recipient of perfectly justified ridicule for circulating an intensely moronic conspiracy theory.

Ah well. People are nuts and we’re hurtling toward a direct confrontation with a nuclear superpower. Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but laugh. As Wavy Gravy said, “Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don’t have a sense of humor it just isn’t funny anymore.”

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EU’s ‘toothless’ response to creation of Kosovo army risks worsening the crisis – Moscow

Russia’s ambassador to the UN said that the EU could have and should have done more to stop the breakaway region from creating its own army.

RT

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Via RT…


The creation of Kosovo’s own 5,000-strong army is a threat to peace and security in a turbulent region and may lead to a new escalation, Russia’s UN envoy has warned, calling the EU’s lackluster response irresponsible.

Speaking at the UN Security Council emergency meeting on Kosovo, Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzya said that the EU could have and should have done more to stop the breakaway region from creating its own army to replace its lightly armed emergency response force.

“The EU reaction to the decision by Pristina cannot be described as other than toothless. This irresponsible policy has crossed the line,” Nebenzya said, after the UNSC meeting on Monday.

The diplomat said the lack of decisive action on the part of the 28-member bloc was a “great disappointment,” adding that the EU seems to “have turned a blind eye on the illegal creation of Kosovo’s ‘army.’”

The law, approved by Kosovo lawmakers on Friday, paves the way for doubling the size of the current Kosovo Security Force and for turning it into a de facto army, with 5,000 soldiers and 3,000 reservists.

The move did not go down well even with Kosovo’s usual backers, with both NATO and the EU voicing their indignation. NATO’s General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg called the decision “ill-timed” and lamented that Kosovo’s authorities had ignored “the concerns expressed by NATO.”

The EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, has echoed those concerns, saying in a statement that the mandate of Kosovo’s forces “should only be changed through an inclusive and gradual process” in accordance with the state’s constitution.

The only nation to openly applaud the controversial move was the US, with its ambassador to Kosovo, Phillip Kosnett, saying that Washington “reaffirms its support” for the upgrade as it is “only natural for Kosovo as a sovereign, independent country” to have a full-fledged army.

The Kosovo MPs’ decision has drawn anger in the Serbian capital Belgrade and provoked a strong response from Moscow, which calledon the UN mission in Kosovo to demilitarize the area in accordance with UNSC resolution 1244, and to disband any armed units.

Nebenzya pointed out that the UN resolution does not allow any Kosovo Albanian military units to be present in the region’s territory. He accused Western countries, including members of the NATO-led international peacekeeping force (KFOR), of “condoning and supporting” the violation by Pristina of the resolution.

It is feared that the army, though a relatively small force, might inflame tensions in the region and impede attempts at reconciliation between Pristina and Belgrade. Serbia has warned that it might consider an armed intervention if the army becomes a threat to the 120,000-strong Serb minority in Kosovo.

“The advance of Kosovo’s army presents a threat to the peace and security in the region, which may lead to the recurrence of the armed conflict,” Nebenzya stated.

In addition to creating its own army, Kosovo in November hit Serbia with a 100 percent import tariff on goods, defying calls by the US and the EU to roll the measure back.

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Ukraine’s President Says “High” Threat Of Russian Invasion, Urges NATO Entry In Next 5 Years

Poroshenko is trying desperately to hold on to power, even if it means provoking Russia.

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Via Zerohedge


Perhaps still seeking to justify imposing martial law over broad swathes of his country, and attempting to keep international pressure and media focus on a narrative of “Russian aggression,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denounced what he called the high “threat of Russian invasion” during a press conference on Sunday, according to Bloomberg.

Though what some analysts expected would be a rapid flair up of tit-for-tat incidents following the late November Kerch Strait seizure of three Ukrainian vessels and their crew by the Russian Navy has gone somewhat quiet, with no further major incident to follow, Poroshenko has continued to signal to the West that Russia could invade at any moment.

“The lion’s share of Russian troops remain” along the Russian border with Ukraine, Poroshenko told journalists at a press conference in the capital, Kiev. “Unfortunately, less than 10 percent were withdrawn,” he said, and added: “As of now, the threat of Russian troops invading remains. We have to be ready for this, we won’t allow a repeat of 2014.”

Poroshenko, who declared martial law on Nov. 26, citing at the time possible imminent “full-scale war with Russia” and Russian tank and troop build-up, on Sunday noted that he will end martial law on Dec. 26 and the temporarily suspended presidential campaign will kick off should there be no Russian invasion. He also previously banned all Russian males ages 16-60 from entering Ukraine as part of implementation of 30 days of martial law over ten provinces, though it’s unclear if this policy will be rescinded.

During his remarks, the Ukrainian president said his country should push to join NATO and the EU within the next five years, per Bloomberg:

While declining to announce whether he will seek a second term in the office, Poroshenko said that Ukraine should achieve peace, overcome the consequences of its economic crisis and to meet criteria to join the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during next five years.

But concerning both his retaining power and his ongoing “threat exaggeration” — there’s even widespread domestic acknowledgement that the two are clearly linked.

According to The Globe and Mail:

While Mr. Poroshenko’s domestic rivals accuse him of exaggerating the threat in order to boost his own flagging political fortunes — polls suggest Mr. Poroshenko is on track to lose his job in a March election — military experts say there are reasons to take the Ukrainian president’s warning seriously.

As we observed previously, while European officials have urged both sides to exercise restraint, the incident shows just how easily Russia and the West could be drawn into a military conflict over Ukraine.

Certainly Poroshenko’s words appear designed to telegraph just such an outcome, which would keep him in power as a war-time president, hasten more and massive western military support and aid, and quicken his country’s entry into NATO — the latter which is already treating Ukraine as a de facto strategic outpost.

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