When the Army-2020 International Military and Technical Forum kicks off this coming Sunday at the Patriot Congress and Exhibition Center of the Russian Armed Forces in Kubinka outside of Moscow, Russia could be looking to find buyers for its Su-57 fifth-generation fighter. This will mark the first time the advanced combat aircraft will be on display at the annual military hardware trade show and arms fair.
Russian state media reported that the aircraft, which first made its debut 10 years ago, will take part in the forum’s flight demonstration program.
“The Su-57E export version of the fifth-generation fighter will be demonstrated for the first time at the Army forum as part of its static show and will also take to the skies under the flight program,” the press office of the state high-tech corporation Rostec told Tass.
The Su-57 is a fifth-generation multirole fighter that was developed to destroy a range of air, ground and naval targets. At the MAKS air show near Moscow in August 2013, several Su-57 test planes made appearances – and manufacturers also showed off missiles that could be fitted into the fighter’s voluminous weapons bays or under its wings and fuselage.
The Su-57 fighter jet reportedly features stealth technology that utilizes a broad range of composite materials, and the aircraft is capable of developing supersonic cruising speed. Rostec has further highlighted that it is furnished with the most advanced on board radio-electronic equipment, including a powerful onboard computer, which has been described as a “so-called electronic second pilot;” while the radar system spread across its body. Other innovations, in particular, include its armament, which is placed inside its fuselage.
The Su-57 took to the skies for the first time on January 29, 2010, and state media reported that compared to its predecessors, the fifth-generation fighter combines the functions of an attack plane and a fighter jet while the use of composite materials and innovation technologies and the fighter’s aerodynamic configuration ensure the low level of radar and infrared signature.
The aircraft’s armament will include, in particular, hypersonic missiles. ‘
Also, the fifth-generation fighter jet has been successfully tested in combat conditions in Syria. However, there have been problems with the aircraft’s development, and last year a Su-57 crashed and exploded during a training session in Russia’s Far East. The fighter was believed to be the first serially produced Su-57, which was supposed to be transferred to the Russian Air Force late last year.
There have also been reports that several countries have been considered as future partners in the stealth fighter project, namely China and Turkey. The latter could be particularly inclined to partner with Moscow on the Su-57 project, given Turkey’s recent S-400 anti-aircraft system acquisition, but also due to the fact that it was ejected from the United States’ F-35 stealth fighter program.
The Su-57 will not be the only advanced aircraft on display at the Army-2020 event, which will take place from August 23-29. State media reported that the forum’s attendees will also be able to view the flights of a MiG-35 light multirole fighter, a Ka-52 reconnaissance and attack helicopter and an upgraded Ka-27M deck-based gunship. The Berkuts (Golden Eagles) aerobatic team will demonstrate the capabilities of a Mi-28N helicopter in solo and formation flying.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.