MiG and Sukhoi jointly develop a Russian sixth generation fighter jet
MOSCOW, (BM) – The MiG and Sukhoi companies will develop the sixth generation combat aviation complex together, Ilya Tarasenko, director general of MiG and Sukhoi, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing RIA Novosti.
“Our competitors are American and European aircraft manufacturers. And to maintain strong leadership in the industry, we need to consolidate the best competencies that exist today in MiG and Sukhoi and create new sixth generation aircraft. Combining capabilities within common tasks and common goals is a tremendous opportunity to make a major breakthrough. Foreign companies no longer have such opportunities,” Tarasenko said.
Answering the question whether the sixth generation aircraft will be a joint development of MiG and Sukhoi, the agency’s interlocutor answered in the affirmative. “Yes, it will be the development of the UAC military aviation division,” he explained.
Currently in Russia, mass production of fifth-generation Su-57 fighters has begun. The first aircraft should go to the Russian Aerospace Forces this year.
Ilya Tarasenko was appointed to the post of CEO of Sukhoi in February this year by decision of the board of directors. Thus, he combines three positions – in addition to Sukhoi, Tarasenko leads the MiG corporation, and is also responsible for marketing and military-technical cooperation at the United Aircraft Corporation.
The NK-88 hydrogen engine opens the horizons for a Russian 6th gen fighters
Fifth-generation aircraft have already flown up, but the development of science and technology does not stand still, so more and more information appears on work on projects of 6th generation aircraft. But in order for a sixth generation aircraft to appear, a fundamentally new engine must first appear.
Already today, aviation receives a challenge in which a new machine should not only be effective in the atmosphere, but also have the ability to go into space.
But a traditional atmospheric engine will not allow this, therefore, scientists have actively taken up the development of a hybrid of rocket and aircraft engines. This is exactly what the hydrogen engine can be. If it is possible to create a successful hydrogen engine, cryogenic aviation will appear almost immediately, and Russia will single-handedly break into the world of aircraft construction of the sixth generation.
It may seem fantastic and the cryogenic aviation poster may look too bright and unattainable. But even more than 30 years ago, at sunset of the USSR, they tested the promising Tu-155 aircraft, on which the NK-88 hydrogen engine was already installed.
The development and research obtained as a result of testing the NK-88 were laid as the foundation for the development of a hypersonic engine.
Unfortunately, the collapse of the Soviet Union did not allow the projects described above to receive full development. But the baggage of research of the past has remained and has not disappeared anywhere, engineers of our days can use the achievements of past years.
Recently, Russia has become significantly more invested in the defense industry and development, and therefore there is a high probability that work on the new engine has long been underway.
Most likely, we will receive full-fledged information about the new engine at the moment when this will be the right moment. We already saw a similar example when hypersonic weapons from the highest rostrum were announced.
Russia is getting a 6th generation stealth bomber
As the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter moves into serial production in much larger quantities than previously expected, reports are emerging that the Russian defense establishment has their eyes trained on a “sixth-generation” strategic stealth bomber, we reported on October 11 last year.
At the 70th anniversary of the Zhukovsky Test Flight and Development Center, Tupolev CEO Alexander Konyukhov said that there are “There are big plans ahead for testing and further developing the heavily upgraded Tu-22M3M, Tu-160 and Tu-95MS aircraft along with large-scale work for testing the prospective complex of long-range aviation [PAK DA].”
Russian state news reports that the PAK-DA, as the bomber is currently known, will undergo initial testing at the Zhukovsky Center. Perhaps the most striking aspect of the PAK-DA is how close the fighter is to entering service within the Russian Air Force (VKS)– according to then-Deputy Minister of Defense Yuri Borisov, the first prototype is expected in 2021-2022, the maiden flight is scheduled for 2025-2026, and serial delivery will begin in 2028-2029.
Needless to say, this timeframe should be taken with a warranted degree of reservation; from the S-500 to the Su-57, this wouldn’t be the first flagship Russian military hardware project to languish in a cycle of overeager estimates followed by cyclical delays (nor is this phenomenon exclusive to Russia’s military-industrial complex).
Whereas Russia’s current crop of heavy, strategic, nuclear-capable bombers is entirely composed of Soviet-era fighters and iterations thereof, the PAK-DA will be based on a completely new design– as lead engineer Igor Shevchuk put it, a “fundamentally new fighter, based on new conceptual solutions.”
As United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) President Yuri Slyusar added, “we, of course, are talking about a serious reduction in observability, improved handling, and expanded combat capabilities.”
Little is currently known by way of PAK-DA’s concrete specifications. Russian defense commentary suggests a possible operational range of 12,000 kilometers, a payload of up to 30 tons, and subsonic flight speed.
The latter fact is particularly important in light of VKS commander Viktor Bondarev’s clarification that the PAK-DA prioritizes “stealth capabilities” over raw speed: “It is impossible to build a missile-carrying bomber invisible to radars and supersonic at the same time. This is why focus is placed on stealth capabilities. The PAK-DA will carry AI-guided missiles with a range of up to 7,000 km. Such a missile can analyze the aerial and radio-radar situation and determine its direction, altitude and speed. We’re already working on such missiles.”
These missiles, which can purportedly switch targets in mid-flight and autonomously adjust their flight path to evade radars, are still under development, and– given Bondarev’s emphasis on stealth– will almost certainly be stored in the PAK-DA’s internal weapons bay.
The PAK-DA is being branded as a replacement to the Tu-160 and Tu-22M3, but is unlikely to be mass-produced in sufficient quantities to become the backbone of Russia’s strategic bomber force.
Russia’s defense establishment has recently confirmed that the Tu-160 and Tu-22 designs are here to stay for the foreseeable future, as both are getting avionics, quality of life, and armament suite refreshes in the form of the Tu-160M2 and Tu-22M3M respectively.
Instead, it appears that the PAK-DA is designed to fill a high-intensity, deep penetration, nuclear conflict niche against the world’s leading air defense systems.
The United States has also begun testing prototypes of the next generation of aircraft
As we reported o June 12 the US military began to test new secret planes over the Mojave Desert, which, according to the America’s The Drive magazine, could be an ideal adversary for an equally effective Russian air defense system.
According to the magazine’s publication, such aircraft previously appeared in the frames of ordinary photographers. However, they managed to see full-fledged tests only a few days ago, which obviously indicates that the military from the United States came close to flight tests of the prototype, not to mention that the first samples of such aircraft may appear within 3-5 years.
“In the United States over the Mojave desert [California], tests of top-secret aircraft systems are being conducted, which can make it invulnerable to Russian missiles. We are talking about two aircraft, Model 401 and Proteus, which were in the sky with the F-15D NASA fighter and the KC-10 air tanker. On the tail of the Model 401, obscure rhombuses are visible [possibly a hidden radar or some sensors], and a certain electro-optical system was installed on the Proteus” the magazine said.
Journalists of the publication believe that both aircraft were in unmanned flight or controlled by NASA’s F-15D, Russian media reported citing The Drive.
If the arguments of the journalists are correct, then the tests may indicate that the United States is close to creating a sixth generation combat aircraft, since the latter are positioned as unmanned aerial vehicles with all the capabilities of full-fledged fighters.
Europe also develops next generation fighter jet
According to the Italian media outlet La Stampa, Italy will join the UK Tempest program which involves the development of a sixth-generation multi-role fighter and the first European stealth fighter aircraft, as we reported on September 9 last year.
Italy is looking to the advanced fighter jet to replace the Eurofighter fleet of the Italian Air Force.
The Tempest program was announced during the Farnborough International Airshow 2018. The British government, through the Ministry of Defense, has allocated 2 billion pounds (2.3 billion euros) for the initial development of the sixth generation fighter.
The Tempest aims to replace the RAF Typhoons by 2035 and to compete with the French-German New Generation Fighter announced during the International Paris Air Show – Le Bourget on July 12, 2017 by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.
Italy had expressed interest in the initiative since its announcement, but the nation had never formalized an agreement regarding the program so far, although some members of the Italian Defense have worked on the project right away.
Italy’s membership in the Tempest program will bring several benefits also to the Italian industry as Leonardo is involved in the British project together with BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and MBDA.
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