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CONFIRMED: Russia’s SU-57 fifth generation fighter entering production next year

Alexander Mercouris

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Russia has confirmed that the SU-57’s test programme is now complete with production of the first batch due to start in the Gagarin factory in Komsomolsk-na-Amur in Khabarovsk region in Russia’s Far East next year.

As discussed previously, the first batch will number just twelve aircraft, and will be powered by the current AL-41F1 engine used in the trial programme.  Starting from 2020 all future batches will use the new Isdeliye 30 engine, which has now been flight tested on the second prototype.

Some information has now been provided about the new Isdeliye 30 engine.

Photographs of the engine on the engine on the second prototype show that it is significantly shorter than the previous AL-41F1 engine (see caption picture), a fact which should improve its stealth performance significantly, and that it uses rounded thrust-vectoring serrated nozzles, which should also improve its stealth performance whilst making the SU-57 highly manoeuvrable.

The engine’s general designer has been identified as an engineer called Yevgeny Marchukov working at NPO Saturn in Rybinsk.

The engine will use the Lyulka brand name used by all engines used by Sukhoi fighter aircraft since the 1950s.  This is taken from the name of Arkhip Lyulka, who was the engineer who was chief designer of all engines used to power Sukhoi aircraft from the 1950s until his death in 1984, including the AL-31 which powers the SU-27 and a developed version of which (the AL-41F1) also powers the current SU-35 and will power the first batch of twelve SU-57s.

A report in the Russian publication Air and Cosmos says that the engine has a compression ratio of 6.7, that air flow is 21-23 kg / s. and that temperature of the gases in front of the turbine reaches 1950-2100 degrees Kelvin.  Maximum thrust is put at 17-18 tons, less than claimed by some other sources but still significantly more than the 15 tons for the AL-41F1.

There are some claims that the SU-57 with the new engine can achieve a supercruise speed without afterburner of Mach 2.1.  By comparison the US F-22 can achieve a supercruise speed without afterburner of Mach 1.82.

If so then that bears out Russian claims that the SU-57 has the best performance of any fifth generation fighter either planned or in production.

Recently an article by Dmitry Gorenburg claimed that the SU-57 with its new Isdeliye 30 engine will not enter service with the Russian Aerospace Forces before 2027.  This appears to be based on the assumption that development of the Isdeliye 30 only began recently.

In reality development of the Isdeliye 30 engine seems to have begun in 2009 or possibly even earlier, and (as I have discussed previously) it may also have drawn on some of the work done for the aborted AL-41 project of the 1980s.

This means that the Isdeliye 30’s development is much more advanced than Gorenburg seems to realise, with the Russians slating production of the new engine to begin in 2020 or even sooner.

Meanwhile the Russians are claiming that the fact that the SU-57 is appearing later than the F-22 and the F-35 means that it is benefitting from technological advances which place it well ahead of these aircraft,

Here for example is how Sputnik reports what a seemingly well-informed military journalist Vladimir Tuchkov has to say about the SU-57’s weapons and systems as compared with those of the F-22 and F-35 (note that he refers to the SU-57 by its previous designation T-50)

[The] T-50’s delayed start behind both the F-22 and the F-35 worked out perfectly for the developers of the plane’s onboard radar systems, giving them access to fundamentally new electronic components and technologies which were unavailable ten or even five years before. “Furthermore, Russian designers were able to take into account, as far as possible, the experience of the F-22’s radar,” the journalist wrote.

“First, it must be said that the angle of the T-50’s active phased array is installed on an incline. Because of this, the aircraft’s rcs is reduced. Going with this design, which also makes possible a reduction in power usage during operation, was made possible thanks to the excellent characteristics of the N036 Belka radar, developed to replace the N035 Irbis passive phased array antenna system.

The N036 is more effective than the N035, Tuchkov noted, but even the earlier system “remains very convincing when compared with the US AN/APG-77 radar. The Russian system finds targets with an rcs of 1 square meter at distances up to 300 km. The American radar, meanwhile, does the same up to 225 km. For targets with an rcs of 0.01 square meters, the Russian radar’s range is 90 km. For the US system these figures are not available.”

Altogether, the T-50 has six radars onboard – including one on the plane’s nose, two on its sides, two on the wings and one in the aft section. They are capable of monitoring up to 60 targets at once, and targeting up to 15.

“In addition to the radar-based visibility, the T-50 features the OLS-50M optic-electronic sensor system, which includes a thermal scanner using a QWIP-matrix with unique resolution and range characteristics. In this area…Russia is considered to be the absolute world leader,” the military observer stressed. A similar system, which enables the pilot to detect targets which have their radar systems turned off, is fitted on the F-35, albeit the US design has a smaller range. The F-22 does not have this technology.

If there is one advantage of the F-35’s avionics to speak of, “it is the pilot’s helmet, which makes the aircraft ‘transparent,’” Tuchkov wrote. “That is, visibility is not limited by the cockpit windows. The whole panorama of the surrounding area is displayed in the pilot’s visors, in both the visible and the infrared spectrum. Monitoring the pilot’s head and eye movements, the computer provides the necessary panoramic viewpoint and provides the pilots with tips, and manages targeting.”

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, when it comes to armaments, here the T-50 stands out, according to the observer.

Among all the world’s existing and prospective fifth-generation fighter aircraft, “the T-50 has the most extensive missile and bomb arsenal. A total of 14 high-precision missiles and smart bombs have been developed specifically for the plane. Half have already been adopted into service; the other half are undergoing testing. The KS-172, the longest-range air-to-air missile, has a maximum range up to 400 km. This is double that of the US AIM-120D missile, which has a maximum range of 180 km.”

As for air-to-surface missiles, here too the T-50 has systems that are “at the forefront of engineering solutions,” Tuchkov noted. “Using them, the pilot has the opportunity to conduct a ‘free hunt’, with the missiles themselves choosing targets independently. The US planes, meanwhile, use missiles developed in the early 2000s, and modernized in the 2010s in the best case scenario.”
Time will show how much truth there is to these claims.  The one point I would make is that by general agreement the Soviet MiG-31 and SU-27 fighters were more advanced when they appeared in the early 1980s than the roughly analogous US F-14 and F-15 fighters which had appeared earlier in the 1970s precisely because the MiG-31 and SU-27 benefitted from technological advances which took place following the entries into service of the F-14 and F-15.  Perhaps the same thing will happen with the SU-57.

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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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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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