The Russian military is expected to receive the first batch of fifth generation Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jets “very soon,” the corporation developing the plane said. The jet was known earlier as the PAK FA and T-50.
“The newest 5th generation aviation complex T-50/PAK FA, for which we have high hopes and plans, will be delivered to the Russian Air Force very soon,” the Joint Aviation Corporation (OAK) said in a Facebook post.
Earlier on Saturday, a source in the aviation industry told Interfax that the delivery of the first planes of the maiden batch is expected to take place in 2018. A similar estimated time of delivery was given earlier by then-Russian Air Force commander Colonel General Viktor Bondarev.
The first nine machines are currently undergoing flight tests, according to the manufacturer. While the early jets were fitted with older “first-stage engines,” the Su-57 recently received a new engine, developed specifically for the fifth-generation fighters. The fighter, fitted with the new Product 30 engine, successfully performed its maiden flight on December 5. While little is known about the specifications, the OAK said last year it was an entirely new engine designed from scratch.
The Su-57 jet fighter, designed to replace the iconic Sukhoi Su-27 in frontline tactical aviation, made its maiden flight in 2010. One plane has an estimated price tag of about $50 million.
Comment: Compare that with the price of US’ fifth generation jet the F-35: Lockheed stated that by 2019, pricing for the fifth-generation aircraft will be less than fourth-generation fighters. An F-35A in 2019 is expected to cost $85 million per unit complete with engines and full mission systems, inflation adjusted from $75 million in December 2013.