Russia’s newest front line fighter – the Sukhoi T50 – is to be tested with its new engine over the course of this year.
The Sukhoi T-50 has up to now been powered AL-41F1 engine with 93.1 kN (21,000 lbf) of dry thrust, 147.1 kN (33,067 lbf). It is an advanced derivative of the AL-31 engine that powers the preceding Sukhoi SU-27 family of fighters.
Though contrary to some claims this engine does provide the Sukhoi T50 with sufficient power, it has always been intended to replace this engine with a more powerful and advanced engine.
The new engine began full scale development in 2011, and the fact that it is expected to be ready for flight testing by the end of this year suggests a successful programme. Supposedly this engine will provide 107 kN (24,050 lbf) of dry thrust and up to 167 kN (37,500 lbf) in afterburner. It is dimensionally similar to the AL-41F1, so that it can apparently be fitted in to the Sukhoi T50 with minimal changes to the aircraft.
Though the Sukhoi T50 is likely to enter service shortly, it is unlikely to do so in large numbers until 2020, when the new engine should be available for operational aircraft.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.