Is vulnerable to F 22 against S400

Uncertain future for the Russian Su-57

The requirements for the Su-57 in the Russian Air Force have changed. The aircraft called "FELON" in NATO is a fifth-generation multi-purpose fighter aircraft that the Sukhoi and the Air Force have promised a lot. However, it is becoming more and more obvious that the Su-57 will not replace the Su-27/35 "FLANKER" family in the number originally intended, at least in the immediate future.

The Su-57 was developed as part of the “Future Combat Aircraft” (PAK FA) program and was primarily considered for two deployment scenarios. On the one hand, it should replace the Su-35S if necessary in order to be able to survive aerial battles against the western fighter aircraft of the fifth generation such as the F22 Raptor and the F 35 Lightning II. Here the Russian Air Force determined that the existing FLANKERS are currently sufficient, as no aerial battles of this kind are to be expected in the near future. In the second scenario, the Su-57 should only be purchased in small numbers in order to operate at high speeds and at great heights, destroy enemy radars and protect friendly aircraft with long-range missiles.


High performance and modern armament

With two AL-41F turbojet engines, the Su57 has a top speed of around 2,600 km / h, a range of 1,750 km and a climbing ability of 21,000 meters per minute. In contrast to the MiG-31BM interceptor, which is very fast but not very agile, the Su-57 is powerful in both ways. The aircraft's armament is located inside the inner fuselage chambers, but if necessary the weapons can also be carried outside. These include the X-58 anti-radar missile and the new long-range RVV-BD, which can track targets 600 km away. Their American counterparts - the upgraded AGM-88 and AIM-120 missiles - may be more advanced in terms of guidance, but they can't cover the same distances. Reported targets for the Su-57 in this role would include reconnaissance aircraft, heavy drones, AWACS aircraft, and air refueling tankers, while the Su-57 already has a small hypersonic missile to be placed inside the fuselage to combat critical ground targets as Prototype was developed.

How the Su-57 will be used is therefore still unclear, but it has already been tested in missions over Syria. This was also used to test purpose, cost, and combat efficiency. The aircraft could also be of interest to Russia's traditional and potentially new partners abroad. India could purchase an “off the shelf” series of Su-57s to evaluate its capabilities. With the ability to contract for a joint production, it would be a similar approach to the Su-30. The future of the Su-57 could therefore lie in export, since the classic aerial battles for the Russian Air Force currently appear rather unlikely as an operational scenario.

Yury Laskin