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Creation of the Russian Plane of the Fifth Generation: Question without Answer

Creation of the Russian Plane of the Fifth Generation: Question without Answer
Balayan Alexander 12.09.2007
Air show Max 2007 which recently took place caused rich ground for discussions. No wonder, in fact backlog of Russia in the field of aircraft construction today is already obvious to many. Certainly, first of all it concerns creation of a fighter of the fifth generation.


From the most significant events of the air show passed it is possible to name demonstration of a fighter Mig-35 (which 10 years ago became a sensation of the aeroshow "Farnboro 1997") and a double fighter-bomber Mig-32. Besides there was shown a breadboard model of a robot-plane "Skat".


However all these demonstrations are not something new, first of all, everything was already shown many years ago and, secondly, it is a question of equipment of the fourth generation, in fact - deep modernization of previous Mig models. Actually on the last air show the prototype of plane of the future should be presented. But it didn't happen. It turns out that it is so "confidential" that even its breadboard model cannot be shown.


Aims which are being set before a fighter of the fifth generation - are, firstly, supersonic cruiser speed and a supermaneuverability on subsonic and supersonic speeds, secondly, slight visibility for radars (technology «stealth») and, thirdly, modern radar-tracking equipment allowing to mark and attack target for many kilometers. It is first of all a plane allowing to receive total domination in air.


There are in the USA at present already two fighters of similar type. These are F22 Raptor (not one hundred billions dollars was spent on its creation) and cheaper F35 JSF (Joint Strike Fighter).


It is clear, why the USA confined themselves to demonstration on Max of old models F16 and F15. Meanwhile Russia is still far enough from similar project. The matter is not only in financing but also in practically full absence of material base in 90th years.


So, serious works on creation of such plane were conducted in the USSR from the middle of 70th years. It's enough to recollect a project 1.44MFI - the prototype of a perspective multi-purpose fighter. From the point of view of many experts, it's the most perspective from the planes, however after a series of successful flights in 2000, it was for some unknown reasons scrapped.


In Russia development of a perspective fighter exists in a form of the state program - in 2002 company "Suhoj" was chosen as a parent company to develop the program. The successes in that sphere were not once announced since that time but no prototype was presented.


Experimental sample Su-37 - "Berkut" also remains just a flying stand and YAK 141 is the plane for the Air Forces, the results which have been already applied in the American F35, are already forgotten by everybody.


Serious question arises, why from the plentitude of well-tried projects started in the times of the USSR nothing was chosen. In fact it would allow to save up huge quantity of means. Probably, a problem is in the system which cannot organize itself to solve the concrete target. I.e. in Russia there is the whole set of problems which negatively influence creation of similar plane.


But India which has recently declared about the plans together with Russia to engage itself with this project can help to solve problems of Russia in creation of such plane. In exchange India demands the transfer of technologies and not the subsequent sale of planes. It puts the government of Russia in a complex situation ....


For now officials of Ministry of Defence declare that Flight testings of a new machine (the perspective plane is known also under indexes I-21, T-50), under applications of a management of the Air Forces, should begin in 2009, its batch production - in the beginning of the next decade. Meanwhile, at a time when Russia is only going to test the plane, the USA already start to advance production worldwide. So F22 have been already delivered to Japan and shortly there will be deliveries of F35 to Turkey.


But America does not stop on it showing interest to the market of India where it's also going to sell F35. So, India can change its mind, if Russia in the near future will not prove to its partners greater preferability of the model. This points to the fact that Russia needs, at last, to define its priorities and to conclude a number of contracts on delivery of planes in advance, otherwise it risks to lose traditionally close markets of arms.
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