PARIS --- Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday announced the purchase of 76 of the latest Su-57 fighters by the Ministry of Defense, which are to enter service with three aviation regiments by 2028.
The contract, according to Kommersant, is estimated at up to 170 billion rubles (approx. $2.4 billion), which makes it the largest in the history of Russian aviation and guarantees a full workload for the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aviation plant for at least a decade. The agreement may be signed in the presence of the President at the MAKS aerospace show.
Vladimir Putin announced the readiness of the military to purchase large quantities of new aircraft at a meeting on the development of military aviation held in Sochi. He recalled that in 2013-2018, the troops received more than a thousand new and modernized aircraft and helicopters; as a result, 65% of the Aerospace Force aircraft fleet was modernized.
Now, Putin, it is necessary to start serial procurement of the latest models of aircraft, including the fifth generation Su-57 fighters. “By 2028, three aviation regiments of the Aerospace Forces must be fully re-equipped," Putin said, stressing that the state armament program until 2027 planned to purchase only 16 such aircraft. Thanks to work with industry, the cost of the aircraft has decreased by almost 20%, which will allow purchasing 76 fighters over the same period of time, the president explained.
Work on the Su-57 fighter began in 2002. Two years later, the plane was presented to the president in a layout. In 2010, Mr. Putin said that about 30 billion rubles were spent at the first stage of creating the aircraft, and the same amount was required to complete the work, he said.
Aircraft numbers and service introduction dates were constantly changing, and the state armament program for 2011–2020 provided for the purchase of 52 production Su-57 fighters, with the first two due for delivery in 2015. Subsequently, the military admitted that due to the unstable economic situation, the department would be able to absorb only 15 such aircraft, of which the first two in 2017.
As a result, the first contract for a pair of Su-57 was signed only in August 2018: according to its terms, the aircraft should be transferred to the military in 2019. Since the program was launched, ten Su-57 prototypes were built.
According to a top manager of one defense contractor, the contract for the supply of 76 Su-57 fighters to the Ministry of Defense could become a record in the history of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).
The cost of the contract, estimated at 160 to 170 billion rubles, is decreasing not only due to decisions to change the internal layout of the Su-57 and standardization of technical solutions, but also due to the fact that production will enter full rate. The source told Kommersant that military contracts allow only low (3-5%) profitability, but this contract will guarantee the full-rate capabilities of the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft plant for the next decade. Theoretically, its production line can produce at least seven to eight such aircraft each year.
The first Su-57 batches will initially be equipped with first phase engines (AL-41F1), and subsequently with the second phase (Product 30) engines.
When domestic and export orders for previous generation Su-35 fighters are included, the Komsomolskoye-on-Amur aircraft plant, is becoming the busiest of all UAC plants, a senior government official said. According to him, the contract can be signed in the presence of Vladimir Putin at the MAKS aerospace show, which will be held in Zhukovsky near Moscow from August 27 to September 1.
Yesterday, Putin said that by 2028 another 100 Mi-28NM combat helicopters, a version of hundreds of Mi-28Ns already in service with the Russian Aerospace Forces, should be delivered to the army by 2028.
This contract, and the parallel signing of an agreement for 114 Ka-52 combat helicopters, will provide the main workload under the current state armament program for two enterprises belonging to the Russian Helicopters holding: Rostvertol (Rostov) and Progress (Arseniev). According to a Kommersant source in the aviation industry, the total cost of these agreements is estimated at 180-190 billion rubles.