BANGALORE --- Russia’s T-50 (also designated Perspective Frontline Aviation Complex, Russian acronym: PAK FA) fifth-generation fighter aircraft powered by the second-stage engine will conduct its maiden flight in the fourth quarter of 2017, the press department of the United Engine Corporation (ODK, a subsidiary of the Rostec state corporation) told journalists.
"The first flight of the aircraft powered by the new engine is expected [to be conducted] in the fourth quarter of 2017," a UEC representative said. He pointed out that the engine program is being developed "on the established time schedule".
The first ground launch of the demonstrator engine was conducted at the Lytkarino Machine-Building Plant in November 2016. The engine is being developed by the Lyulka Design Bureau under auspices of the bureau`s Designer General - Director Evgeniy Marchukov. According to the Director General of UEC Alexander Artyukhov, "new design considerations of the Russian engine-building that remain unmatched" were used during the manufacturing of the demonstrator engine.
“In addition to the aforementioned demonstrator, the gas-generators of the new engine were also produced separately. The second-stage jet engine intended for the PAK FA aircraft will feature a FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) system. The effectiveness of the Unit 30 should be 17-18% higher compared to the performances of the first-stage engine (Unit 117).
"The second-stage engine for PAK FA is a fifth-plus-generation engine, even the fifth-plus-plus-generation one," Marchukov said previously. The specific performances of the engine are 15-20% better that the ones of its predecessors.
"The specifications of the engine have been enhanced primarily by the drastic increasing of the working cycle characteristics and nodes performance factor, as well as by the usage of new technologies and materials. It has several distinctive features, namely, an improved thrust and drastically reduced specific consumptions in almost all working modes, not only in the maximum distance modes, but also in the acceleration and afterburner ones, in other words, in the exploitation modes. Therefore, it means the reduction of the life cycle costs," the designer general said.
"Moreover, a radical reduction of the specific weight through the medium of the usage of new technologies and materials is planned," he added.
According to Marchukov, the development of the new engine "faces several challenges, as some declared materials have yet to be certified and we cannot use them to full extent". "Thus, the first experimental engines will slightly differ from the ones that will participate in state trials. We are conducting the activities on the engine in conjunction with the developers of the aircraft, including the ones on the air intake; therefore, it is the newest motor that is to serve in aviation for the next 30 years at least," he said.
"We are planning to develop a whole range of new powerplants for aviation and energetics on the base of the new engine`s gas-generator," the designer general concluded.
The PAK FA combat aircraft conducted its maiden flight in 2010. The first five serial fighters are supposed to be delivered to the military this year. The deliveries of PAK FAs to the military may start after 2018. At present, the fighter prototypes are powered by the first-stage engines (Unit 117).