Not the Su-30MK, the new Russian stealth could be a two-seater Su-57

On November 29, we shared news about a patent recently filed by Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation [UAC] for a new stealth fighter jet that is now public knowledge. As per these documents, the aircraft is designed as a two-seater stealth fighter, capable of both subsonic and supersonic flight. 

Photo credit: Rostec

Several Russian media outlets including TASS believe this could be a new stealth fighter. The specifications detailed bear a striking resemblance to the Su-30MK family of aircraft. According to an official statement by UAC, this state-of-the-art fighter is expertly calibrated to track and eliminate air, surface, and ground targets effectively. 

Interestingly, some Eastern European analysts speculate that the new stealth fighter jet might actually be the two-seater version of the Su-57. There’s another theory stipulating that the patent can be pointing to a new fighter for the Indian Air Force, drawing its basis from the two-seat Su-57. 

Not the Su-30MK, the new Russian stealth could be a two-seater Su-57
Photo credit: UAC

Now, you might be wondering, why are we bringing India into the picture when there’s no mention of the country in any of the patent documents? The two-seater modification of the Cu-57 has always been linked to the Russian-Indian program for the development of the prospective FGFA fighter jet in discussions. 

However, one must note that India reportedly suspended its role in this joint venture with Russia in 2018, regarding the development of a new fighter jet, a consequence of the Russian PAK FA (Cu-57) project. 

Later in October 2019, the Chief of Staff of the Indian Air Force announced a shift in focus towards indigenous development instead of importing stealth fighters like the Su-57. According to Indian perspectives, Russia’s combat avionics, radars, and sensors didn’t quite fulfill the requirements of a high-end fifth-generation combat aircraft. 

The original agreement between the governments for the joint development of the fifth-generation fighter was signed on October 17, 2007. Yet, it’s important to mention that the Russian Air Force command has never shown an inclination towards a two-seater version of the Su-57 fighter. 

Fast-forward to September 2023, and Russia starts relocating their warplanes to North Korea. It’s worth noting that delegations from North Korea recently scrutinized the Su-35 and Su-57 fighters in all their glory.

Key points

Second stage engine known as Izdeliye 30 is fitted to the Su-57
Photo credit: Twitter

The press release outlines an advancement in the aerospace industry, honed in on a multi-purpose, twin-seated tactical stealth aircraft. Not only is this aircraft capable of swiftly identifying and eradicating targets in the air or on the surface at various speeds and altitudes, but it also functions as an aerial command hub, facilitating the coordination of assorted aircraft groups within a network-centric environment.

You need to understand that this craftsman’s masterpiece, as outlined in its patent description, is engineered to hold both guided and unguided armaments. Impressively, it extends its functionalities to serve as an aerial control spot, harmonizing operations amongst other aircraft, ground military units, and even handling unmanned aircraft. Get the picture? This versatile machine fills numerous roles all in one.

What’s notably impressive about this invention is its extended flight range and duration. Its creators achieved this by expanding the fuel tanks by an additional 10% of the initial design. This clever blueprint seamlessly folds these bigger tanks into the aircraft’s altered geometric body lines while accommodating a second pilot. Also, it utilizes the aircraft’s cargo compartments. All these without sacrificing operational efficiency—it’s performance-focused.

Kim Jong Un boards a Russian Su-57 and examines Su-35 Flanker
Photo credit: Twitter

However, this high-tech jet’s ‘novelty’ has stirred some controversial reactions. Particularly, several Russian experts contest the notion that this is a completely new stealth fighter, similar to a Su-30MK derivative. They argue that it bears more resemblance to a twin-seater variant of the Su-75 Checkmate. 


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