The latest issue of Air International magazine has a fine article detailing the testing, development & future roadmap of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft [FGFA], the T-50 PAK-FA, a Russian venture with Indian involvement. Written by the much respected Piotr Butowski, its filled with important nuggets of information. Paraphrasing the critical ones here.
- Up until February, the multiple PAK-FA prototypes have made more than 120 test flights
- The third FGFA prototype, the T-50-3, is now being equipped with the N036 Active Electronically Scanned Array [AESA] radar for testing.
- For the T-50-3, air intakes in the roots of the vertical tail fins have been re-designed & so have its wing tips. The air intakes are used for cooling the engine bay.
- Load-bearing structures in the first prototype, T-50-1, have developed cracks during the course of testing. It has been taken out of the flight rest regime & has not been seen to take to the air since August, last year.
- Sukhoi boss, Mikahil Pogosyan promises that the fourth prototype too would be ready for testing in 2012, but no specific dates given.
- Following the detection of cracks on the T-50-1, the fourth prototype is having to undergo major structural changes, leading to its eventual delay.
- Russian Air Chief states that, by 2015, 14 T-50 PAKFA aircrafts would have been built - 6 prototype variants & 8 pre-production aircrafts.
- 60 production variant T-50s would be bought in the period between 2016-2020
Izdeliye 30 [Item 30] Engine under development for the T-50 PAK-FA
- Full-scale development for the engine that will eventually power the FGFA had begun since 2011. The engine would be ready for integration & testing with an aircraft by 2016.
- The engine would have a re-heat thrust of 18 tonnes & dry thrust of 11.5 tonnes & would start powering production variants of the FGFA from starting 2020.
Patent submitted for the PAK-FA
- Important features of the aircraft - blended body aerodynamic configuration
- Lift-generating fuselage
- Fuselage extension
- Outer wing extension
- All-moving horizontal stabilizer
- All-moving vertical stabilizer [fins]. They can rotate along with the horizontal empennage or independently. The fins also act as air brakes.
- Engines are housed in the wide-spaced nacelles
- Engine air intakes
- Leading edge extensions [LEX or LERX]
- Leading edge flap
- Stub-pylons for mounting the vertical fins
- Air-intakes for engine bay cooling & air-conditioning
- Engine nozzles. They can either be directed in the same direction or even independently
Characteristic features of the T-50 PAK-FA:
- Small Radar Cross-Section [RCS]
- Super manoeuvrability at high Angles-of-Attack [AoA]
- High lift-to-drag ratio at Supersonic speed [retaining high value at subsonic speed]
- Large size internal weapons bay carriage
- Widely housed engine bays allow for a large size internal weapon bay along with greater deflection of engine nozzles.
- Greater nozzle deflection also allows aircraft control about vertical & longitudinal axes at low speeds.
- Engines are mounted at an angle to the longitudinal axis of the aircraft. In case of a single engine failure, the direction of thrust of the other engine is closer to the centre of gravity of the aircraft. This makes it easier to control the aircraft with a single engine.
- Reduced Radar Cross-Section [RCS] is achieved by articulating leading edges of the wings, tail planes & LEX parallel to each other. Additional RCS features include faceted fuselage sides & oblique engine air intakes.
News article shared by Austin. HT