Saturday, June 01, 2019

SU-57 viewed thru Russian eyes...

Thanks to S300v4 for the link!

via Russian Military Analysis Blog.
The Su-57 is a high maneuverability air superiority fighter,
with a substantially reduced radar cross section compared to 4th
generation Russian fighters, designed to work as part of Russian air
defense to counter stealth aircraft near or within Russian airspace.
This fighter is meant to team with Russia’s sizable 4th gen air force, and VHF/UHF ground based acquisition radars, to establish local qualitative advantages and help close corridors in Russian air defenses.
The Su-57 is an affordable, producible option to bolster Russia’s air
defense network. It will pose a major challenge for any 4th gen
aircraft, and concern to stealth optimized 5th gen aviation. Yes it is a stealth 5th generation aircraft, but it is not a F-22 or F-35 clone,
and the design philosophy is not based around mission requirements similar to U.S 5th generation aircraft. This fighter is tailored to Russian needs, though it has features intended to make it attractive to an export market.


Instead India was to receive an export version of the T-50, and in this scenario they backed out, leaving the development risk to Russia, with the option to come back and buy the Su-57 if Sukhoi proves successful. Why India believed they could co-develop a 5th generation aircraft program with Russia, gain experience and tech transfer, for a fraction of what similar such programs typically cost, remains a mystery. Similarly, some Western analysts and commentators began writing off the PAK-FA when India backed out, as though the $4 billion that Russia never actually received from Delhi was going to make or break Russia’s 5th generation program (a country that spends 1.5 trillion RUB on R&D and procurement per year). Many of these predictions of Russian next gen weapons programs entering ‘death spirals’ are simply wrong.


Reasons for the delays found in defense news articles typically reference something about a lack of money, sanctions, or other analytical spaghetti thrown at the wall. There is no evidence that the PAK-FA program suffers from these problems. A simpler reason is that developing a 5th generation aircraft is not all that easy especially if you’re integrating a host of new capabilities, from an AESA radar, to a low observable air frame (or at least an attempt at one), a new engine, flight control system, etc. Suffice it to say Sukhoi encountered challenges – here are a few visuals to illustrate:
Story here. 

Mahesh asked that I do a blog post on this conversation.  No problem, here it is.

What was the bait on the hook to get me to bite?

I've been wanting to know why so many got it wrong when it was assumed that this program would die once the Indians backed out.

I now have that answer.

This conversation is kinda specialized.  I really haven't been keeping up with the SU-57 so its up to you guys to give this one a go.

I'll be watching from the sidelines.

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