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Sunday, January 22, 2012

T-50 PAK-FA Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft [FGFA] - Photographs & Reading

Went through the December issue of Take-Off magazine. Has a good set of articles covering some of the important aspects of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft [FGFA], T-50 PAK-FA, also known as the Future Tactical Fighter [FTF].

Of the articles [Page 25 onwards], one was a general overview of the aircraft program as one learnt of at the MAKS 2011 airshow, including some updates on the status of development of its 117 engine [also known as AL-41F1], based on Saturn's mature AL-31 platform, which would power the bird. An interview with the Director of Tikhomirov-NIIP, the institute developing the aircraft's AESA engine throws some light on the  AESA radar under development & another article which talks about some of the latest air-launched missile systems & bombs being developed, many of which could be loaded on to the T-50 PAK-FA, especially into its internal weapons bays, a characteristic feature of 5th generation fighter aircrafts, to reduce its Radar Cross-Section [RCS], if the mission requires it.
Much learning happened.
Even the showstopper project of Russia's mil-tech development program is finding it difficult to get the finances required. With reference to the development of the AESA radar,
"The cause of the current situation is the slippage of Istok’s production facilities renovation programme, due to which some work is still done using obsolete equipment with lower precision. The financing is in a stop-and-go manner; hence, Istok is experiencing problems with its production facilities renovation and, therefore, with the reliability of the early T-R modules they made"
Critical to look out for any more signs of financial crunch other parts of the program may be facing & then evaluate feasibility of the 2020-25 timeframe, by which they've promised to get going the induction process of the aircraft into the Russian Air Force [RuAF] fleet. While India has committed to induct a certain number of these single-seater aircrafts, the aircraft India is to develop in accordance with the requirement of the Indian Air Force [IAF] would be a twin-seater fighter, currently referred to as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft [FGFA]. Delays in developing the primary single-seat variant would likely result in delays in the India-specific twin seater too.
The good Director has also confirmed the possibility of the Indian Air Force's Sukhoi Su-30MKI's being fitted with AESA radars sometime in the future.
"We also are taking part in the programme on upgrade of the Indian Air Force Su-30MKIs. Provision has been made for enhancing the performance of the Bars radar and its current phased array and, possibly, fitting the radar with an AESA further down the road."
The graphic, below shows location of some of the the important systems the the aircraft.
A video report, in Russian, shows the AL-41F1 engine under development by Tikhomirov-NIIP.
117 [AL-41F1] engine for powering the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft [FGFA], the T-50 PAK-FA