PAK-FA and FGFA: News & Discussion - June 2014

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Vips » 23 Aug 2018 22:05

Thanks Karan. All i saw was X and L Band AESA and not the possibilities.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Indranil » 23 Aug 2018 23:32

Karan M wrote:
"Key question still remains: How Stealthy really is this old wine in new bottle."

That unfortunately, remains a very valid question.

Not as stealthy as F-22 for sure. Almost as stealthy as a F-35 but much better in radar and aerodynamics.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Manish_P » 24 Aug 2018 15:03

Indranil wrote:Not as stealthy as F-22 for sure. Almost as stealthy as a F-35 but much better in radar and aerodynamics.


Is that based primarily on shaping? Or do we have more details on the RAM coating, the fit and finish.

Size wise it is much bigger than the F-35, and twin engines as compared to the one

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Cain Marko » 24 Aug 2018 21:42

That would entirely depend on what angle you view it from. Purely eyeballing it suggests that Head on the bird is as good as the best. As you move towards the sides and rear, esp. Ventrally, not so much. Still, with internal weapons, large fuel stores, smallish fins, it's well ahead of a 4 gen design.

Couple that with the best speed, acceleration and maneuverability in the business, and it's pretty potent. Not to mention the already written points about the unique sensor and ew package.

I believe the iaf seeks a more tested product, especially the newer engines. Once this happens, an order is likely.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Raveen » 24 Aug 2018 21:57

Cain Marko wrote:That would entirely depend on what angle you view it from. Purely eyeballing it suggests that Head on the bird is as good as the best. As you move towards the sides and rear, esp. Ventrally, not so much. Still, with internal weapons, large fuel stores, smallish fins, it's well ahead of a 4 gen design.

Couple that with the best speed, acceleration and maneuverability in the business, and it's pretty potent. Not to mention the already written points about the unique sensor and ew package.

I believe the iaf seeks a more tested product, especially the newer engines. Once this happens, an order is likely.


Nice, I am glad you've developed radar eyesight to eyeball the RCS area

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Indranil » 24 Aug 2018 22:39

When it comes to stealth, I am a bit out of my water. But here is what I have learnt after talking to people who do know.

For stealth objects, shaping trumps size by a significant margin. That is why F-22 has a lower signature than F-35 even when the latter is smaller. Both F-35 and Su-57 trade stealth for aerodynamic performance, cheaper manufacturing and development costs.

From the front, the Su-57 is pretty well shaped. But-F-35 does have that extra edge. I am sure that they will cover Su-57s compressor face. There is no way that they will shape the entire airframe and leave the primary culprit out there. That much is elementary stuff. But even then, the F-35 has the details covered. The Russians have not been able to develop flush sensors for everything. The Levcon also leaves out gaps for reflectivity. Same for the boundary layer separator at the inlet. I don't know the cost of not having fully flat belly. But it would have been very easy for the Russians to do. They did not (for known aerodynamic advantages).

From the side, both should have equivalent signatures. In fact the Su-57 could have less, given the smaller vertical stabilizer and slimmer side profile.

From the back, neither wanted to pay the price in performance that F-22 pays (In some cases up to 20% of thrust). Both do use cooler air to hide the heat signature. But that is a losing battle. When you are sending out hot gases capable of providing nearly 200 kN of thrust (in the case of F-35) and 350 kN of thrust (in the case of Su-57), you can't hide against a cold sky. Both of them, will be picked up in the high 10s of kms by modern IRSTs. Even F-22s light up the IRSTs quite well. Forget the exhaust, the skin heated up by air friction is well visible at 10s of kms. So you can imagine what happens with the exhaust. But, if a Su-57 and F-35 are merging at that stage, I will be worried for the F-35 pilot. The kinematic advantage of the Su-57 is enormous at that point. More on that latter.

All this is from the mouse POV. What about the cat POV. The sensors of Su-57 are enormous. One of the largest nose mounted radar, chine mounted radars, leading edge radars, rear looking radar (all of the above searching in different bands), and then forward looking IRST and backward looking IRST. One can be sure that the Russians would not have left the fusing of all these sensors to the pilot. So, if you leave out the marketing of LM (don't underestimate that), sensor fusion on Su-57 is pretty sophisticated. They will be rough around the edges, but it is pretty much there.

So if you put this play of detection vs evasion against each other, who would win? The jury is pretty much out. I can tell you that if you have breakfast sessions with pilots and aircrew, the Americans aren't that sure. They are pretty sure of F-22 vs Su-57 (there is of course some bias towards the F-22). I don't know people attached to the Su-57 side. So I couldn't tell you how any of them feel.

Basically, the Russians were not going to settle for a fifth generation plane which was at par with fourth gen planes in terms of aerial performance. The Su-57 is better than the Su-35 in aerial performance. The F-35 is trying to prove that it is at par with the later generation F-16s! You can imagine the difference in aerial prowess between the F-35 and the Su-57. To give you a perspective, as flying machines F-16 block 60 < F-16 block 30 < EF/Rafale < F-22/Su-35 < Su-57. I leave you all to come to your conclusions about the likely outcomes when both when both planes can see each other.

Su-57 is not refined yet, but anybody who tells you that it is a crap/lemon etc. has something to sell to you.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Singha » 24 Aug 2018 23:03

maybe it will be the Mig31BM of the LO arena.....foxhound is a tough customer when it plays by its rules.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby souravB » 24 Aug 2018 23:30

IR sir, to add to and summarize your point, F-35 is made to come in at night and bomb the F out of the place and PAK-FA is made to find and hunt it.
To me it seems like there shouldn't be much problem if PAK-FA isn't as stealthy as F-35 for that role.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Anoop » 24 Aug 2018 23:44

Indranil,

Thank you for that easy to understand summary. M
Very valuable for people like me. Reading your post about the heat signature from engine exhaust, it seems then that the IAF's insistence on supercruise is more for operating cost and range purposes than for stealth? Thanks for your posts in general, they are always very informative.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Indranil » 25 Aug 2018 03:20

Thank you for your kind words. Please authenticate from other knowledgeable sources. I am just an enthusiast.

Operationally, supercruise is always from speed and range POV. It is marketed for a hundred other reasons.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Cain Marko » 25 Aug 2018 04:30

Raveen wrote:
Cain Marko wrote:That would entirely depend on what angle you view it from. Purely eyeballing it suggests that Head on the bird is as good as the best. As you move towards the sides and rear, esp. Ventrally, not so much. Still, with internal weapons, large fuel stores, smallish fins, it's well ahead of a 4 gen design.

Couple that with the best speed, acceleration and maneuverability in the business, and it's pretty potent. Not to mention the already written points about the unique sensor and ew package.

I believe the iaf seeks a more tested product, especially the newer engines. Once this happens, an order is likely.


Nice, I am glad you've developed radar eyesight to eyeball the RCS area

Yes, it's amongst my many abilities and talents....

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Viv S » 25 Aug 2018 16:32

Indranil wrote:When it comes to stealth, I am a bit out of my water. But here is what I have learnt after talking to people who do know.

For stealth objects, shaping trumps size by a significant margin. That is why F-22 has a lower signature than F-35 even when the latter is smaller. Both F-35 and Su-57 trade stealth for aerodynamic performance, cheaper manufacturing and development costs.
.
.
When you are sending out hot gases capable of providing nearly 200 kN of thrust (in the case of F-35) and 350 kN of thrust (in the case of Su-57), you can't hide against a cold sky. Both of them, will be picked up in the high 10s of kms by modern IRSTs. Even F-22s light up the IRSTs quite well. Forget the exhaust, the skin heated up by air friction is well visible at 10s of kms. So you can imagine what happens with the exhaust.
.
.
The sensors of Su-57 are enormous. One of the largest nose mounted radar, chine mounted radars, leading edge radars, rear looking radar (all of the above searching in different bands), and then forward looking IRST and backward looking IRST. One can be sure that the Russians would not have left the fusing of all these sensors to the pilot. So, if you leave out the marketing of LM (don't underestimate that), sensor fusion on Su-57 is pretty sophisticated. They will be rough around the edges, but it is pretty much there.
.
.
Basically, the Russians were not going to settle for a fifth generation plane which was at par with fourth gen planes in terms of aerial performance. The Su-57 is better than the Su-35 in aerial performance. The F-35 is trying to prove that it is at par with the later generation F-16s! You can imagine the difference in aerial prowess between the F-35 and the Su-57. To give you a perspective, as flying machines F-16 block 60 < F-16 block 30 < EF/Rafale < F-22/Su-35 < Su-57. I leave you all to come to your conclusions about the likely outcomes when both when both planes can see each other.


Just some corrections/counterpoints, if you'll excuse me/indulge me.

Sensors

- The Su-57's primary sensor (N036) is large but not quite 'enormous'. The APG-81 has a higher T/R count and a general inference from comparing (publicly available) figures for top-end Qorvo (Triquint) HEMTs to NPP Istok's, would suggest a higher power density as well. So the APG-81 should have a higher range. The N036 does however have a wider field of view thanks to the auxiliary/cheek arrays.

- There is NO rear looking radar. That stinger housing contains ECM arrays that are part of the 'Himalaya' EW suite.

- There is NO leading edge radar. The L-band arrays in the wings are for ESM & IFF.

- There is NO backward looking IRST. The 101KS-V is forward looking, while the 101KS-Os have a DIRCM function and the 101KS-Us provide MAW coverage in the UV spectrum.

Sensor Fusion

- The Su-57 will of course incorporate sensor fusion, as have the F-22, EF, Rafale, Super Hornet etc for years. To what degree of sophistication, time will tell, but they've got their task cut out for them.

- The F-35's multi-ship fusion meanwhile is a generation ahead of contemporary systems.

It may sound like the same kichdi, different achaar, or "LM marketing" but they are fundamentally different in terms of what they intend to do. Whereas the former is intended to declutter aircraft displays and reduce pilot workload by combining discrete sensor tracks, the latter uses it to create a unified threat picture using and synchronizing raw data from dispersed sensors from aircraft that are miles apart, across different vectors, connected by an LPI datalink.

And for all their experience and resources, at the time of IOC, they were only had a stable two-ship fusion working. Took a while for the three-ship and longer still for a stable four-ship fusion system.

Kinematics

- The Su-57 is a superlative aircraft in practically all flight regimes while the F-35 is broadly analogous to the MiG-29 in performance.

- In terms of 1-v-1 or 2-v-2 dogfighting, the outcome will be decided by how who sees who first, unless the aircraft are down to guns.

- The F-35's advantage is the DAS-HMDS integration that allows for quick and continuous ID. The pilot doesn't have to keep track of the units around him, his aircraft does it for him and projects it onto his visor. Especially useful in a furball, where friendlies and hostiles are mixed in, and where, as the saying goes, "everybody dies at the same rate".

- The Su-57's actual advantage is the same area as the Eurofighter & F-22 i.e. the supersonic arena, where it climbs quickly, cruises high and shoots far.

IR Signature

What you're describing (200kN/350kN) is wet thrust. In practice however a signature conscious combat sortie is likely to be in a high subsonic, medium altitude profile.

I don't know what features the Russians have designed into the Izd.30 but the high bypass F135 contours the plume to shroud it behind the airframe and then jackets it with colder air.

Can it be detected at the 'high 10s of kms'? Seriously doubt it. It has gone up against fighters fielding IRSTs including the RAF EFs (Pirate) & Aggressor F-16s (IRST-21), and by most accounts has been utterly dominant.

A Closer Look at Stealth: Nozzles and Exhausts
The F135 nozzle likely suppresses IR signature using multiple methods. The trailing-edge chevrons create shed vortices, shortening the plume, while their steeper axial angle likely directs cooler ambient air into the exhaust flowpath. The inner surfaces of both sets of flaps are white and covered in minute holes similar to those on the F119, which might supply cooling air. The space between the tail feathers and the trailing chevrons may also contain ejectors to provide even more cooling air. The tiles and inner flap surfaces are likely composed of low-emissivity, RAM composites.

Radar Cross Section

That the F-22 was the stealthiest fighter in the skies was the common perception. Until certain 'odd' information started filtering out to media.

Prominent of which was a comment made by the Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Hostage - "The F-35 doesn’t have the altitude, doesn’t have the speed [of the F-22], but it can beat the F-22 in stealth.".

Asked for a clarification, the JPO head, Lt. Gen Bodgan responded "I would say that General Hostage … is accurate in his statement about the simple stealthiness of the F-35 [with regard] to other airplanes".

How? Apparently, "shaping is 3/4ths of LO" may not be the hard-and-fast-rule one assumes.

The “Magic” Layer and the Future of RAM
The low-observable materials developed for the B-2 and F-22 kept RCS small, but their maintenance burdens proved heavy. Their durability disappointed, necessitating frequent replacements that ballooned support costs and time while restricting aircraft availability. RAM fillers tend to be spherical, a few to tens of micrometers in size and densely packed, which is good for absorptive qualities but bad for durability. Bonding them to aircraft surfaces also proved troublesome.

So, from the beginning of the F-35 program, Lockheed’s goal was to achieve acceptable stealth while reducing maintenance needs. Use of several RAM techniques continued, including S-curved, RAM-lined ducts, edge treatments and what appear to be picture frames abutting many gaps. Early reports also indicated the number of parts making up the skin would be minimized and laser-alignment would fit pieces so precisely “that 99% of maintenance requires no restoration of low-observable surfaces,” Lockheed says. The goal was likely to make the intensive gap-bridging procedures unnecessary.

But during development, something happened. First, program officials began hinting the F-35 might be stealthier than the F-22; hard to believe, given its less-disciplined shape. Then officials started referring to a material secret, a “conductive layer . . . where the magic happens.” In May of 2010, Tom Burbage, then executive vice president for the F-35 program, disclosed the incorporation of “fiber mat” technology, describing it as the “biggest technical breakthrough we’ve had on this program.”

The fiber mat would replace many RAM appliques by being cured into the composite skin, making it durable. Burbage further specified the mat featured a “non-directional weave”— which would ensure EM properties do not vary with angle. Baked into the skin, this layer could vary in thickness as necessary. Lockheed declined to provide further details, citing classification. Without further evidence, fiber mat would imply use of fibers, rather than particles, which would make for stronger surfaces and the word “conductive” points to carbon-based RAM.

But only a month before Burbage’s disclosure, Lockheed filed a patent claiming the first method of producing a durable RAM panel. The patent details a method for growing carbon nanotubes (CNT) on any kind of fiber—glass, carbon, ceramic or metal—with unprecedented precision in control of length, density, number of walls, connectivity and even orientation. The CNT-infused fibers can absorb or reflect radar, and connectivity among the CNTs provides pathways for induced currents.

Significantly, the CNTs can be impregnated with iron or ferrite nanoparticles. Fibers can have differing CNT densities along their lengths and homogenous fibers can be layered or mixed. The embodiments described include front layers with impedance matching air, use of quarter-wavelength depths for cancellation, stepped or continuous CNT-density gradients and continuously varying densities at specific depths for broadband absorption. The fibers can be disposed with “random orientation” in materials including “a woven fabric, a non-woven fiber mat and a fiber ply.”

The patent claims composites with CNT-infused fibers are capable of absorbing EM waves from 0.1 MHz to 60 GHz, a bandwidth unheard of in commercial absorbers, with particular effectiveness in L- through K-band. The patent does not quantify the absorptivity, but does say the panels would be “nearly a black body across . . . various radar bands.” Also, interestingly, a layer can be composed so an attached computer can read the induced currents in the fibers, making the layer a radar receiver.

While the patent mentions stealth aircraft, it does not mention the F-35 specifically, and the manufacturing readiness level of the material at the time it was granted is not known. But the proximity in timing and technology of the filing to the “fiber mat” disclosure is hard to ignore. Asked to comment on whether CNT-infused fiber RAM is in use on the F-35 and whether it is the technology to which Burbage had referred, Lockheed Martin spokesman Mike Rein stated only, “We have nothing to add to what was outlined in the patent submittal.”

- Aviation Week

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Austin » 25 Aug 2018 21:19

EXCLUSIVE: Unique Footage Of TOP SECRET Su-57 Fifth-Generation Jet


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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Indranil » 28 Aug 2018 02:14

Viv,

Thank you for correcting me on the rear facing IRST. However, the operation of the L Band antennas on LEs and the Xband antennas in the sting is yet to be fully disclosed. What you wrote about them is the only confirmed part. E.g. when the L Band antennas did debut in MAks 2009 (for Su-35), tracking and scanning was mentioned was mentioned as part of the deal. Since then, they have kept quite on that front.

With respect to F-35s vs F-16s, the outcome is obvious. The F-16s were handicapped both in terms of stealth and avionics. That will not be the case when the F-35s go up against other fifth gen planes. By the way, the The production engine on the PAFKA also jackets the exhaust in the same way as F-35 does. It helps, but it is losing cause. This is how they still appear on IRSTs (from near). From far they appear like a dot (smodge), but unmistakable as a signature as it is not transient like a noise, and nothing else is anywhere near that temperature.

Anyways, this is a never ending debate. I am biased against the F-35, and you for it.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Karan M » 28 Aug 2018 02:43

Indranil, agree. There was no need to have separated L-Band antennas in the wings as simpler solutions would have worked fine. Its a LO/ stealth detection tool and will likely even provide accurate range and even height estimates via triangulation of multiple Su-57 tracks. The Russians dont care about penetrating GBAD as they have long range ASMs but are more worried about taking out other stealthy platforms. Whether the L-Band solution will work against the F-35 is a good question.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Cain Marko » 28 Aug 2018 05:22

Some thoughts regarding the aft section of pakfa not being so tfta stealth....
1) if any enemy can get rear view if pakfa, it is probly going to be within visual range at which point stealth won't matter much.
2. Missiles as well as seekers and radar have restricted range when it comes to tail chase mode again reducing the importance of stealth in aft quarter. The emphasis on high speed, large internal fuel capacity, and maneuverability will also help the pakfa here.
3. The Russians seem to want to attack gbad with long ranged ASMs which again means that the rear section shouldn't be exposed to radar

So yes, compared to US designs the pakfa might seem like a less stealthy design but operationally this might work well enough.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Viv S » 28 Aug 2018 21:24

Indranil wrote:Viv,

Thank you for correcting me on the rear facing IRST. However, the operation of the L Band antennas on LEs and the Xband antennas in the sting is yet to be fully disclosed. What you wrote about them is the only confirmed part. E.g. when the L Band antennas did debut in MAks 2009 (for Su-35), tracking and scanning was mentioned was mentioned as part of the deal. Since then, they have kept quite on that front.

The L-band array on the Su-35 are used for IFF as well. From the OEM's literature -

https://image.ibb.co/cTCsf9/4.jpg

Caption translation: "Multiple-thread Multi-channel Digital Interrogator with Active Phased Antenna Array. Ryazan State Instrument Plant"

Keep in mind, the F-22 & F-35 both have L-band (Band 2) antennas in the leading edges of their wings, so this isn't exactly a novel idea.

With respect to the stinger, most of the information suggests that it houses part of the EW system (in contrast to the cheek arrays). It looks bulbous enough contain a radar, so its been implied that its an X-band array but there's no substantial information about the EW system in the public domain.

With respect to F-35s vs F-16s, the outcome is obvious. The F-16s were handicapped both in terms of stealth and avionics. That will not be the case when the F-35s go up against other fifth gen planes.

By the way, the The production engine on the PAFKA also jackets the exhaust in the same way as F-35 does. It helps, but it is losing cause. This is how they still appear on IRSTs (from near). From far they appear like a dot (smodge), but unmistakable as a signature as it is not transient like a noise, and nothing else is anywhere near that temperature.

Point is not who won but how it played out. IRSTs have been touted as a panacea to tackling stealth fighters but its not worked out that way in practice. Modern systems like the IRST-21 (& PIRATE) weren't able to detect the F-22 or F-35 anywhere near the ranges where it could have had a significant tactical impact. In most cases, the first time they were aware of a stealth fighter in their vicinity was when they had missile incoming.

I haven't seen any details on the signature reduction features of the Izd 30 (though I'm aware of some such features like the use of CMCs). If you have access to some details, please do share.

With respect to the F135, what you're describing (dot/smudge at a distance) only applies to a rear aspect view of the aircraft. They've designed the nozzle to ensure that the plume is shaped into a short 'spike', so that it isn't visible behind the airframe when observed from a distance. From what I understand, the cold 'jacket' is primarily to conceal the exhaust trail.

From the Airforce Mag -
Cost and performance trade-offs were made when it came to designing the F-35’s exhaust system, O’Bryan said. Lockheed Martin chose not to employ a two-dimensional thrust-vectoring nozzle, as it had on the F-22 Raptor.

For one thing, the decision reduced cost. For another, it eliminated one of the larger practical challenges to maintaining the stealth characteristics of the F-35.

The classified "sawtooth" features that ring the nozzle help consolidate the exhaust into a so-called "spike" signature, while other secret techniques have been employed to combat and minimize the engine heat signature.

"We had to deal with that, and we dealt with that," O’Bryan said, declining to offer details.

The F-35 meets or exceeds the services’ infrared signature specifications.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Indranil » 28 Aug 2018 23:59

No sir,

Neither F-35, nor F-22 have Lband radars on their LE. F-35 does have 3 Lband ‘radars’ but they don’t face forward and are minuscule in size when compared to the Su-35/PAKFA.

as I said that the production engine on PakFA will use the same techniques for IR separation as f-35. One of the prototypes is already flying with the engine shown below.

Image

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Viv S » 29 Aug 2018 11:42

Indranil wrote:No sir,

Neither F-35, nor F-22 have Lband radars on their LE. F-35 does have 3 Lband ‘radars’ but they don’t face forward and are minuscule in size when compared to the Su-35/PAKFA.

You're mixing different things. Take a look at the pics again (check the hyperlinks in the my previous post).

You see the "Band 2" antennas in the leading edge of the F-22/F-35 wing. Those are IFF interrogators and (unless it utilizes some other IFF concept) are comprised of L-band transceivers. The small antennas you're referring to, on the lower fuselage and spine, are for comms, in several waveforms but primarily line-of-sight Link 16.

Image

Image

On the Su-35 too, contrary to earlier media reports, the L-band arrays are used for IFF. Same goes for the Su-57 (JSC-KRET website has a confirming article but its unfortunately under maintenance atm).

Image

цифровой зАпросчик с АКТИВНОЙ ФАЗИРОВАННОЙ АНТЕННОЙ
"Digital Interrogator with Active Phased Antenna"

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Indranil » 29 Aug 2018 22:33

All I am saying is on the Su-35 and PAKFA they are not for just IFF. I will leave it at that.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Kartik » 29 Aug 2018 23:46

Info on the content of alloys and composites on the Su-57

Image

40-44% aluminium
22-26% composite
18% titanium
10% steel
4% other


Posted on Keypubs by some guy.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby brar_w » 30 Aug 2018 00:54

The concept of a multi-band integrated Radar/EW (and even IR) detection, tracking and fire-control was an idea championed by the ATF back in the late 1980s. The F-22A has space, weight, and power provisioned for cheek arrays and this is a path they are likely to take as an upgrade in the coming years.

On the F-35 (relative to the F-22), they did not provision for this because the benefit was not as large (relative to ATF/F22) given how much the Ku band MADL capability had improved over the F-22's IFDL. They could trade away organic wide fov RF coverage for cost and get a lot of it back via MADL which is autonomous. The F-35 receives raw data via MADL at much better latency, higher capacity and over larger distances than the previous generation of terminals on the F-22. Improvements in effeciency and power availability got them there. So much so that they are now talking about leaveraging MADL over distances (ground radars to aircraft, and ships to aircraft) which are 2-3x the distance compared to what it was originally designed for . In fact, the capstone event for this has already happened with an F-35 communicating with the AEGIS combat system using ship/land based MADL terminals, allowing the F-35 to cue an SM-6 missile to intercept, Over The Horizon.

The F-35 has distinct active apertures for communication and Electronic Warfare. The communication apertures cover the UHF band, S band, L band, Ku band and with the radar (where there is untapped communication capability that has been demonstrated on similar systems but has not been fielded to the best of my knowledge (may have on the F-22)) X band as well. So far the F-35 has used those active EW/Comms apertures for IFF, EW, Link-16, MADL, and Chameleon (L-Band data link). The F-22 likewise uses its for the same roles as well. The EW and IFF apertures are separate and are also AESA based. Going forward, it is reasonable to assume that the next iteration of these systems will introduce GaN apertures as this is now standard on other smaller EW programs (like the F-15 EPAWSS for example) and it is logical that iteratively they will introduce their most modern systems on the F-35 given the modernization effort has now started.

It is simply WRONG to claim that the F-22 and F-35 lack Fwd. apertures in the wings. This is easy to dig up and has been depicted on numerous official graphics. The primary X band aperture is quite large and the current capability leverages close to 20 years of operational fighter AESA experience given they are still upgrading capability there. It does, however, lack the cheek arrays and there is no space for them either unlike the F-22 which has space, and PAKFA which will likely enter operaitonal service with them.

There is very limited data to formulate a qualified opinion on how exactly the F-22 and F-35 use their respective RF apertures to detect, track and target. We know that these highly integrated systems do just that but not much details are shared on individual EW capability. On the F-35 there is 360 degree IR coverage via EODAS and IRST coverage as well in the frontal sector. The F-35As band-2 arrays are getting an upgrade in the coming block (4) and given how related these systems are to the F-22's, those upgrades should follow as well.

The official brochure posted above for the PAK-FAs wing array mentions IFF and nothing else. It will be disingenuous to claim that it can do a lot more, while the same systems of the F-35 or F-22 cannot. If one is going to attribute capability of aircraft X to a degree of classification one must do the same for other especially when the other is an iterative improvement for baseline systems which have much higher levels of maturity and there is no technology barrier relative to the capability to develop RF systems which would warrant that. In fact, if one were to sample the use of active (AESA) GaA or GaN based RF systems for EW and radars one will find that the scale is many times larger with the industrial base supplying components to F-22 and F-35 than to the PAKFA. In fact, on the Aerospace & Defense side, US uses of GaA and GaN devices on end systems is quite a bit more than everyone else put together. Between the big three, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have delivered or have orders for 2000+ fighter radars, have delivered well over 100 ground based AESA radars, and have dozens of GaN radars on contract. The same is true on the Electronic Warfare/Electronic Attack side. There is enough evidence out there to suggest that any benefit of doubt given to Russians vis-a-vis classified use of their IFF apertures, should also be extended over to the other, more mature 5th generation aircraft out there.

One some of the other points made earlier:

- PAKFA is still in development and a definitive system is going to be a work in progress. Right now we only have a dozen or so prototypes and other ground testing aircraft. Therefore we will have to wait to see what an eventual stable configuration is on say the first 50-100 aircraft and what promised capability shows up at what timeline given both financial and technical roadblocks which exist for every system irrespective of who is developing it. Both the F-22 and F-35, on the other hand, are moving targets and are being modernized as we speak. Neither aircraft in 2024, for example, will resemble in capability the current version or the baseline version with which they declared IOC.

- DIRCM solution exists for a future application on the F-35 if the US or a partner/FMS customer needs it : http://aviationweek.com/defense/northro ... ammer-f-35

Image

- The F-35 will carry 4 RF decoys (ALE-70(V), flush mounted), in addition to its defensive EW/EA suite and offensive EA capability (sectored). Additionally, other RF countermeasures/expendable RF jammers would also be possible if someone wants them. Something similar to or a variant of the BriteCloud 218 fits that description nicely and will be compatible with CM dispensers since it is designed to offer this capability. It is also relatively mature so isn't going to require years of figuring out.

One advantage of the F-35 over pretty much any other aircraft out there (including other US fighters like the F-22, F-15 and F/A-18) is the scale and the ecosystem growth possible as OEMs in the West look to offer technologies for insertion. This is most apparent in weapon and weapon integration schedule but it is slowly extending to sensors as well.

We most recently saw a competitor in Raytheon (based on 100% Internal R&D funding) best an incumbent which had huge industrial production infrastructure capacity advantage based on performance (specs and cost) just because it saw a large enough market to go out and invest its own money to develop something better (in this case - Next Generation EODAS sensors). Expect this trend to continue as new mission computers and Open Mission System standards take hold in the program starting block-4 enabling much deeper competitions for sub-components than was possible in the past.

Image

These are two very different aircraft, designed to meet two very different needs for their respective operators. Both are also designed to fit into two very different ecosystems and concept of operation (highly expeditionary for the US). A direct comparison is nearly impossible given that no one is going to be looking to buy both these aircraft for the exact same needs.
Last edited by brar_w on 30 Aug 2018 07:49, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Indranil » 30 Aug 2018 05:10

Brar sahab,

Welcome back. My goal is not to belittle the F-35. I want to take on the stupid bogey of: PAKFA/FGFA is a lemon.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Rakesh » 30 Aug 2018 06:13

Brar, welcome back. You were missed.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby brar_w » 30 Aug 2018 07:13

Indranil wrote:Brar sahab,

Welcome back. My goal is not to belittle the F-35. I want to take on the stupid bogey of: PAKFA/FGFA is a lemon.


Thanks, Indranil and Rakesh! It has been a while and I was trying to deal with some health issues but will be here more regularly from now. My point was simply to point out the difference in the two systems. They are really poles apart. Sort of like comparing an F-16 to an F-15. One is not necessarily better than the other..they are just different and will be used in completely different roles and will solve different problems for their respective operators. That said, there are a lot of things floating around regarding the F-35 and indeed, the PAKFA that are just not true. One was the lack of apertures...this is not lacking on the F-35. Only thing they passed upon was the cheek arrays which the original ATF studies recommended at the time..other than that there are as many (qualitatively) RF apertures compared to what the ATF studies envisioned for a 5th gen fighter..and indeed once you factor in the IR side and the capability advancements since then they are far more capable.

As I have said in the past, the PAK-Fa/Su-57 has a lot of potential. Whether it is realized, and more importantly, by when it is realized will be the main decider of how successful it will eventually be. As the F-22 and F-35 programs have shown it takes a lot of will, money and determination to successfully complete programs, field capability and then build on it. The Russians are doing that at this moment amidst financial constraints and having lost the only partner they had on this project. Meanwhile, the competition is moving along. F-22 is getting upgrades to solve some of its basic shortcomings (HMS and Link-16 transmit) and getting further enhancements to improve on things it already does well. Likewise for the F-35..it too is getting upgrades across its sensors, propulsion and weapons portfolios.

There is no doubt, and imho, there should be no doubt that the Russians know how to build a capable aircraft. Having said that, the present, and the future is going to be dominated by, among other things, the rapid enhancements in artificial intelligence, computing, high band-gap semiconductors and sensor and sensor integration. Who can field the most capable sensors and networks will reap the rewards. They have to keep up, finish the Su-57, produce it at a decent rate/field it in numbers and then make it better. This remains to be seen and I am perfectly willing to give them the benefit of the doubt until they have put out a baseline capability across 3-5 squadrons, and have put into practice solid plans for enhancements before I begin to pass judgement on the system.

When will this be? 2020? 2025? Your guess is as good as mine but if I were to bet I'd say closer to the middile of the next decade and likely during a time when the first FA-XX and NGAD tech. demonstrators/Prototypes are already flying and the F-22 and F-35 programs considering rolling some of those capabilities into their own programs (just like F-15, F-16 and F-35 programs benefited from ATF investments or how the Su-30 and 35 will likely benefit from PAK-FA investments).

Until then, we must wait and see which advertised capability shows up in what timeframe (It was the same for the F-22 and F-35 but those are more mature products with lower risk in follow-on-modernization compared to the Su-57 which is still getting through prototype and into serial production).

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Chinmay » 30 Aug 2018 08:38

Welcome back brar_w!

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby deejay » 30 Aug 2018 08:58

Indranil wrote:Brar sahab,

Welcome back. My goal is not to belittle the F-35. I want to take on the stupid bogey of: PAKFA/FGFA is a lemon.


Agreed. It comes from a different design philosophy, war fighting philosophy and also envisages a use very close to or over the homeland. It is not going to be primarily used in expeditious mode like F35 for the US.

Also, welcome back Brar.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby brar_w » 30 Aug 2018 09:20

^ Thanks Dejay.! This is exactly what I said as well. Both are built to different requirements and satisfy a different need for their end users. That said, there is a very wide gap between the F-22/F-35 and PAKFA as far as maturity is concerned and it will take a fair bit of time for Russia to catch up, complete development of all the articles, begin serial production, put out a few squadrons and then begin iteratively improving based on tech advancement and lessons learned. The fact that the Indian side has, for now, withdrawn further investment into the development phase may threaten future timelines further. We may not see an "as envisioned" Su-57 in frontline squadron service, in meaningful numbers till the middle of the next decade so even for a capability to capability comparison (purely an academic exercise) you have to almost project to a 2025-2030 F-22A or F-35 variant and chart out things that those programs have in their pipeline.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Manish_P » 30 Aug 2018 09:44

Good to see you, Brar_w.

Incidentally Karan_m, in a recent post mentioned about the F35, from a POV, being more stealthy than the F22A. And that it's lesser optimal shaping was compensated by the advances in tech of RAM bonding with the airframe (which you had mentioned, in some detail, in one of your earlier posts as well).

I was wondering (purely hypothetically) if in future the US restarts the F22 line, then wouldn't they apply these tech advances to the F22 and then in effect make it even more LO than it currently is (and more LO than the F35)?

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby brar_w » 30 Aug 2018 09:53

I was wondering (purely hypothetically) if in future the US restarts the F22 line, then wouldn't they apply these tech advances to the F22 and then in effect make it even more LO than it currently is (and more LO than the F35)?


Those advances that went into the F-35 were part of a development stream that would have eventually found its way into the F-22 had it seen an F-22B/FB-22, F-22C (X-44 etc) etc. They were too advanced to be cut into production (in some cases not even developed) when the design was frozen on the F-22A. Having said that, there is literally zero chance of the F-22 ever being produced again. Technology and requirements have moved on since it was conceived. The USAF and USN are already invested (quite heavily) in two next-generation combat aircraft programs so they aren't going to look decades back and put something designed in a different era back into production.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Manish_P » 30 Aug 2018 10:11

brar_w wrote:Those advances that went into the F-35 were part of a development stream that would have eventually found its way into the F-22 had it seen an F-22B/FB-22, F-22C (X-44 etc) etc.


brar_w wrote:The USAF and USN are already invested (quite heavily) in two next-generation combat aircraft programs so they aren't going to look decades back and put something designed in a different era back into production.


I understand that, hence my question was purely hypothetical (would a F22 manufactured now, with the RAM tech used on the F35, be more LO than the F35).

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby tsarkar » 30 Aug 2018 11:13

Indranil wrote:I want to take on the stupid bogey of: PAKFA/FGFA is a lemon.

The PAK-FA as a concept is phenomenal. However there is a journey to be covered from concept to production. For LCA the journey took from 2001 to 2016. Also our pilots need actual planes and since they cannot use ppt / jpg / forum links in a dogfight.

The reason MOD and IAF took a very correct decision on not funding development is because of present low maturity of under development systems, the long development cycle and lack of real co-development and transfer of technology.

Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra has clearly stated that when PAKFA/FGFA is ready, India and IAF would relook and reconsider its procurement.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA: News & Discussion - June 2014

Postby brar_w » 03 Sep 2018 21:20

The APG-81 has a higher T/R count and a general inference from comparing (publicly available) figures for top-end Qorvo (Triquint) HEMTs to NPP Istok's, would suggest a higher power density as well.


Also note that Qorvo is manufacturing partner to NG and their own product portfolio would obviously not reflect the designs that come from Northrop Grumman and are just being produced by them. Nor does Qorvo publish designs that it has co-developed with other defense partners such as Lockheed since those are proprietary and not really for sale to another partner. Majority of their product catalog is for ITAR free components (low power or lower freq. PAs for example) whereas the large military application PAs or completely fabricated modules (a market that they have just recently entered) are something that they either produce for other OEMs (based on their own designs) or co-develop with them so they are restricted in terms of whom they sell/market it to. NGs own designs are now pushing into 3-4 generation GaAs modules and they offered their second generation X-Band GaN Modules to the USAF (TRL 6 or better) for the now canceled JSTARS-Recap program.

Same with other airborne RF components where Northrop, with their production partner Qorvo flight-demonstrated GaN in Comms with their Jetpack program for F-15 and F-16 applications. A 15+ year history of producing AESA radars for fighters does come with a fair share of knowledge and iterative improvements especially when that is also combined with a lot of government and self-funded investment in pushing the state of the art even further.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA Thread - June 2014

Postby Zynda » 03 Sep 2018 21:35

Kartik wrote:Info on the content of alloys and composites on the Su-57

Image

40-44% aluminium
22-26% composite
18% titanium
10% steel
4% other


Posted on Keypubs by some guy.

Assuming the above is % by weight rather than area. Given this is a stealth aircraft, I'd imagine they would want to cover much of the skin by composites and hence the above numbers cannot be by area.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA: News & Discussion - June 2014

Postby Austin » 03 Sep 2018 21:46

It is by weight ....the wanted to increase the composite but there was no substitute to titanium for hot parts needs above Mach 2 flights

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA: News & Discussion - June 2014

Postby brar_w » 03 Sep 2018 21:47

Stealth is not the only requirement that drives these decisions. Much like the F-22, the PAKFA will spend a fair bit of time at supersonic speeds (relative to older aircraft). This impacts the choice of materials as well.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA: News & Discussion - June 2014

Postby Austin » 03 Sep 2018 22:14

You can have an all metal aircraft yet it can be more stealthy than all composite conventional fighter aircraft stealth is primarily affected by shaping , Ram can then do the rest

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA: News & Discussion - June 2014

Postby brar_w » 03 Sep 2018 22:30

As stated earlier, material choice is dictated by a whole host of factors and RCS is just one of them. Performance, cost, fabrication, weight etc all come into play. Of course, an all-metal stealth aircraft will have a lower RCS than a nonstealth aircraft made completely of plastic. This is common sense yet when you set out to develop something that has to achieve a spec. in RCS along with spec in other areas you create a trade space and balance your decisions within it.

The reason that composite materials, such as CFRP, are a desirable materials on LO aircraft is that they play in this trade space rather well. CFRP's, for example, are easy to manufacture (relatively) and they are strong relative to their weight (weight : strength) while also being flexible enough to obtain favorable Electromagnetic properties (for example playing around with the direction of fiber reinforcement). This makes them attractive for these applications especially on high-performance aircraft where the thickness of your RAM comes at a premium.

How much stealth is influenced by shaping vs materials is an evolving discussion because discoveries, inventions and fabrication process improvements are constantly changing this equation. What held true in the 1990s may not hold true to the same extent in the 2020s for example.

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA: News & Discussion - June 2014

Postby brar_w » 05 Sep 2018 02:24

Russia Places First Su-57 Order
Piotr Butowski Kubinka, Russia
Aviation Week & Space Technology


After 20 years in development—and more than eight years after the first flight of the Sukhoi Su-57—Russia has placed its first order for the highly maneuverable stealth fighter. The order appears to be small, with the Kremlin’s original goals scaled back amid multiple aircraft redesigns.

The Russian defense ministry ordered the fifth-generation fighters and lightweight fourth-plus-generation MiG-35 fighters on Aug. 22 during the Army 2018 Exhibition at Kubinka outside Moscow. Deputy Defense Minister for Acquisitions Alexey Krivoruchko and United Aircraft Corp. President Yuri Slyusar signed the contract but released no details.
Industry officials say the order is for two Su-57s
The Russian military also ordered MiG-35s
UAC president says the Su-57 will become a new family of aircraft
Krivoruchko said only that “the ministry of defense of the Russian Federation already in the short-term plans to receive 15 production Su-57s,” and “the first airplane will enter the Aerospace Forces in 2019.”
According to industry officials, the firm order is for two Su-57 fighters initially, and orders for the remaining 13 aircraft will be signed in the coming years. The other contract is for two single-seat MiG-35S and four two-seat MiG-35UB fighters. The defense ministry expects to order about 20 airplanes in all. Slyusar stresses that the Su-57s will not be used for further tests but will be delivered to military units. The first fighters will supposedly be handed over to the crew conversion center in Lipetsk.
The number of fighters is small, particularly in comparison to the first order Russia placed for Su-35s in 2009. At that time, the military bought 48 aircraft and proceeded to order another 50 Su-35s. It is also tiny relative to the 36 Su-30SM fighter order that is anticipated at the end of 2018.
The number reflects a more muted outlook by the Russian government than eight years ago, too, when the T-50 prototype aircraft of the Su-57 made its first flight.
In February 2010, shortly after that maiden flight, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that in 2013, the first fighters would be delivered to the pilot training center at Lipetsk and that by 2015, full-scale production would be launched. The Russian State Armament Program called for the purchase of 60 Su-57 fighters by 2020.But four years later, after Russia’s economic crisis, the nation’s expectations for the program were tempered.
In March 2015, then-Deputy Minister of Defense Yuri Borisov revealed a new concept: to purchase fewer Su-57s in favor of lower-cost Su-30SM and Su-35 fighters, given that Russian military pilots were happy with the Su-35’s performance.
The idea was to keep the Su-57 in reserve and launch large-scale production once the Su-30 and Su-35 were proven inferior to rival aircraft. In June 2018, Borisov was promoted from deputy defense minister to deputy prime minister and curator of the defense industry. With him in charge, the plan has not changed.
But the true reasons for the reduction of planned Su-57 purchases can be traced to the technical shortcomings of its first version.
More than eight years have passed since the T-50’s Jan. 29, 2010, first flight from Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Far East. Ten flying prototypes are currently undergoing tests. According to Sukhoi, “2,050 test flights were made under the PAK FA program” by Dec. 31, 2017.
In addition to the trials at industry’s test center in Zhukovsky, the T-50 prototypes have been undergoing an evaluation conducted by military pilots at the defense ministry’s test center at Akhtubinsk since 2014. The main focus of the trials at Akhtubinsk is evaluation of the fighter’s armament.
Nobody in Russia would talk openly about the problems of the Su-57 program. However, signs of trouble abound. After years of testing, largely without financial restrictions, the aircraft completed the so-called “first stage of state evaluation” only in late 2017. That stage is, in fact, not a very advanced level of testing: It concludes with the acceptance of the aircraft as a flying vehicle. Only the completion of the second stage, when mission systems and armaments are tested, allows the aircraft to officially enter the inventory. According to Sukhoi: “In 2018, the trials are continued under the second stage of state evaluation, with planned completion in 2019.”
To complicate matters, the aircraft was redesigned during that stage. Five aircraft made since 2016 differ from the earlier aircraft; the new airframe has a reinforced inner structure. The aft fuselage section (housing the electronic warfare equipment) was made longer, and the circumferences of the aft lower fuselage, some doors and hatches, as well as wingtips have been modified. Fifteen first-production aircraft will be made in that configuration.
However, the aircraft is subsequently undergoing another upgrade—retrofitting with new-generation Izdeliye (product) 30 engines. On Dec. 5, 2017, the T50-2LL (Letayushchaya Laboratoriya, flying testbed), with the port engine replaced by a prototype of the Izdeliye 30, performed its first flight. Krivoruchko says Russia’s defense ministry expects deliveries of airplanes with new engines in 2023.
The current AL-41F-1 (Izdeliye 117) engine for the Su-57 is a deep modernization of the fourth-generation AL-31F for the Flanker fighter family, described as a “generation 5-minus” by Evgeniy Marchukov, the aircraft’s designer general. The Izdeliye 30, classified by Marchukov as a “generation 5-plus,” offers more thrust, lighter weight, a smaller number of elements and lower operating costs. The developer says the new engine will be “17-18% more effective.” If it refers to full thrust, the new Izdeliye 30 engine should provide 17 tons, compared to 14.5 tons for AL-41F-1. The engine’s dry weight is estimated at 1,450 kg (3,200 lb.), compared to 1,600 kg for AL-41F-1. Thanks to glass-fiber plastic inlet guide vanes, the new engine fan is planned to have much a smaller radar cross-section in the front view.
The Su-57 is not formally being offered for export yet; the only international version is the Russian-Indian Perspective Multirole Fighter (PMF), in India commonly named the Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft. Preliminary design of the PMF, or Type 79L, jointly developed by Sukhoi and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. of India, was accepted in June 2013. However, the next contract covering the construction and evaluation of prototypes has not been signed. Indian media repeatedly report that India is withdrawing from the program; but Slyusar says that “negotiations with India continue.” He adds that the Su-57 will be “significantly cheaper” than the U.S. F-22 and F-35 fighters (both manufactured by Lockheed Martin), without providing any numbers, however.
During the signing ceremony, Slyusar said the Su-57 “will become the basis of the whole family of airplanes, just as earlier the Su-27 became the basis for creation of the family of modern and demanded fighters.”

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Re: PAK-FA and FGFA: News & Discussion - June 2014

Postby Philip » 05 Sep 2018 08:42

Developing a family of stealth fighters is going to beggar a bank.Ru would be better off refining the 57's design, mass producing the definitive version and in parallel perfect the PAK- DA stealth bomber.If anything else is needed it is a small light-weight stealth bird more affordable and fielded in larger numbers.This would also have good export potential.


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