Russia's Sukhoi to develop 5th generation fighter jet

The new fighter jet will be a fundamentally new machine, not just a modernized version of an old pursuit plane

The competition of world's biggest superpowers to develop the fifth generation of pursuit planes still continues. Russian specialists intend to build such a jet, or an aviation complex, as engineers say, in five or seven years. Technical details of such developments are being kept top secret, although Russian aircraft designers decided to expose several solutions of theirs.

Russia's world-famous major aircraft corporations, MiG and Sukhoi were fighting for the right to take the state order for the development of the fighter jet of the fifth generation. MiG specialists chose the 1.44 index aircraft as the prototype of the new jet, whereas Sukhoi decided to base its work on the Su-47 fighter jet. The two planes proved excellent flight performance, but Sukhoi's Su-47 eventually won the contest.

Su-47 “Berkut” (“Golden Eagle”) plane is over 25 meters long; the jet's wingspan is more than 15 meters. The peculiar feature of the Su-47 jet is its forward swept wings, which actually gave him the “Berkut” title. The engine of the plane is another peculiarity of the machine – the engine possesses the controlled traction vector. The traction can be changed not only on the axe of the engine, but at an angle to it as well.

The engine of the Russian company Lulka-Saturn is a unique development of Russian engineers, which does not have any analogues in the world. The engine was originally installed on the Su-27 jet, but was subsequently modified for Su-47.

The Su-47 plane will serve as a base, on which new solutions of the fifth generation plane will be tested. Mikhail Pogosyan, Sukhoi's general director, says that the new fighter jet will be a fundamentally new machine, not just a modernized version of the “Berkut.”

The pursuit aviation has reached the point, at which the speed requires the absolute precision and attention from a pilot, who hardly has any time to process all the information. Sukhoi specialists think that there is no point to increase the speed further on. “We do not plan the development of aviation technology on the continuing increase of the flight speed. The absence of the future speed perfection will be compensated with a complex of plane equipment and missiles. The ultrasonic speed capacity of the missiles will enable the destruction of even remote targets,” Mikhail Pogosyan said.

The controlled traction vector engine of Su-47 will have to be thoroughly modernized. The aerodynamic scheme of Su-47 will undergo fundamental changes as well. Sukhoi's specialists are currently considering an opportunity to use forward swept wings and the front horizontal empennage for the new plane – small wings in the front part of the hull. Mikhail Pogosyan emphasized that the aerodynamic scheme would not repeat the previously discovered solutions: it will be much more complicated.

The 5th generation fighter jet by Sukhoi will be a single-seated aircraft, in which a pilot will have an opportunity to be in full control of the machine with the help of the high-tech equipment.

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Author`s name Olga Savka