Russia's Su-57 Heavy Fighter Bomber: Is it Really a 5th Generation Aircraft?
(Source: Rand Corp.; issued Aug 17, 2020)
by Ryan Michael Bauer and Peter A. Wilson
The Su-57 aircraft has been in development since 2002 and is considered a key part of Russia's arms export industry as a fifth-generation fighter to compete with rival systems such as America's F-35 aircraft.

The jet made its first flight approximately ten years ago yet the widely advertised system has not yet been incorporated into the Russian military or any foreign militaries despite Russian promises to the contrary.

There have been a series of recent test flights of the aircraft, including the deployment of a handful of prototypes to Syria in 2018 and 2019. Apparently, the jets did not conduct any live firing or strike missions, while the Kremlin has claimed otherwise without offering evidence. Furthermore, development challenges and recent crashes have continued to delay the advanced fighter bomber's initial operational capability (IOC) until the mid-2020s at the earliest.

The head of the Sukhoi Aviation, which develops the Su-57, resigned earlier this year because of development delays including the December 2019 crash of the first “operational” Su-57 aircraft during a test flight.

The RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, has assembled and analyzed open source information on Russian arms sales around the globe at the request of the U.S. government to support foreign assistance training and awareness.

One of the repeated findings from the analysis is the variety of challenges and setbacks that the Russian Su-57 jet has experienced, decreasing the likelihood of Russia exporting the aircraft before the mid-2020s. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Rand Corp. website.

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