Russia Reveals Its Own Stealth Fighter, The Sukhoi T-50

by Daniel Russ on January 29, 2010

Russian Stealth Fighter Sukhoi T-50

“MOSCOW — Russia’s first stealth fighter intended to match the latest U.S. design made its maiden flight Friday, boosting the country’s efforts to modernize its rusting Soviet-built arsenals and retain its lucrative export market.

The Sukhoi T-50’s flight comes nearly two decades after the first prototype of the U.S. F-22 Raptor took to the air, and Russian officials said it will take another five years for the new jet to enter service. Still, the flight marked a major step in Russia’s efforts to burnish the faded glory of its aviation industries and strengthen a beleaguered military.

The sleek twin-engined jet closely resembling the Raptor flew for 47-minutes from an airfield at Sukhoi’s production plant in the Far Eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur on Friday. Development of the so-called fifth-generation fighter has been veiled in secrecy and no images of it had been released before the flight.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hailed the flight as a “big step forward,” but admitted that “a lot remains to be done in terms of engines and armament.”

Craig Caffrey, an analyst for Jane’s Defense Procurement-Military Aircraft, said the new fighter is “hugely important,” both for modernizing the aging Russian air force fleet and retaining export markets.

“The T-50 should offer the Russian Air Force a significant boost in its capabilities and ensure that it remains one of the best equipped air forces in the world,” he told The Associated Press by e-mail.”

Source: AP

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