RuAF boosts its special operation by getting 6 Su-57s and 2 Su-35s

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The subsidiary of Rostec, United Aircraft Corporation, recently declared its delivery of Su-57 and Su-35S fighter jets to the Russian military. Still, the specifics regarding the quantity of jets remained discreet, though insiders suggest an acquisition of six Su-57s and two Su-35s

Photo credit: Rostec

A fresh series of Su-57 next-generation fighters have been dispatched to the Russian Air Force by the Komsomolsk on the Amur Aviation Plant nestled in Russia’s Far East, as reported by Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov. 

Following a complete round of factory evaluations and tests, these fighters are the first of this calendar year’s production. The existing Su-57s due by year’s end are on the cusp of completion, as confirmed by Yury Slyusar, President of the Russian United Aircraft Corporation, stating that these last few jets are in final assembly and in testing phases. 

Pace in production

The Russian aircraft manufacturing sector, as noted by Manturov, has made notable headway in its production rate. Indeed, the sustained flow of combat equipment to the armed forces bears testament to this.

Amidst these manufacturers, Rostec’s subsidiaries, exemplified by the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant, have achieved remarkable synchrony in their operations. This facility has recently supplied a series of Su-57 and Su-35 aircraft to the Russian Air Force as part of the ongoing State Defense Order.

Video screenshot

Looking ahead, a new fleet of aircraft is slated for delivery to the Russian forces before the conclusion of 2023. Importantly, the government-backed Coordination Council ensures the Russian Armed Forces’ requirements for robust and highly efficient equipment are fulfilled without delay. 

Yury Slyusar, UAC CEO, shared that the remaining fifth-generation combat vehicles due for delivery within the year are undergoing final assembly and requisite tests at the flight station. Moreover, this year has seen the supply of the third set of Su-35S, with succeeding airplanes prepped for imminent production.

Most likely ‘six’

Initially, only one Su-57 was received by the Russian Air Force in 2020, followed by three in 2021 and an augmentation of six in 2022. However, the present State Armaments Plan predicts that the fleet size should reach 22 fighters by 2023’s end, implying a need for 12 new fighters within this year. 

Regarding the latest batch of jets, the number cannot be quantified currently. However, delivering six aircraft in two distinct batches is a potential plan under consideration. The plan for the future of these fighter jet classes anticipates the production of almost 20 airframes per annum for both domestic usage and exports. Algeria is reputed to have placed aircraft orders, while other countries like Vietnam and India have displayed significant intrigue.

Despite trailing behind the American F-35 and the Chinese J-20 in terms of production quantities, coming in at over 100 each annually, the Su-57 boasts a significant advantage: extended combat usage. 

Most likely ‘two’

The UAC also did not share information about the batch of Su-35s delivered to the Russian Aerospace Forces [VKS or RuAF]. However, the company released a short video of two Su-35s taking off from the runway.

Some suggest that it is actually a batch of only two Su-35 fighters. Their guess is based on the video and photos from the Russian manufacturer.

However, we should note that it is possible that exactly two Su-35s were delivered. Judging by previous deliveries, UAC has delivered a batch of both two aircraft and three.

Su-57 strike missions

Photo credit: Sukhoi

The Su-57 has shown a substantial presence in operations within Ukraine, thereby marking it as the sole fighting machinery of its kind to undergo extensive combat testing amidst an extended war against a state adversary. The deployments incorporated strike missions, air defense suppression, and, according to several accounts, air-to-air combat as well. 

Developed to successor the Su-27 Flanker and its variants, the design of the Su-57 was focused on circumventing the massive lifetime cost increase witnessed in American fifth-generation fighter programs. This financial escalation made it nearly impossible for the F-35 to supersede fourth-generation fighters without either drastically reducing the fleet size or significantly increasing expenditure. 

The Su-57, by contrast, is predicted to be a relatively more cost-effective aircraft to operate when compared to its predecessors. This is expected to facilitate its widespread adoption by frontline units and to enable the formation of new regiments. 

First Su-57 regiment

Photo credit: Rosoboronexport

As such, with the projection of Russia forming its first full-strength Su-57 regiment in early 2024 and two additional regiments anticipated by the close of 2027, it’s reported that one of the three regiments’ worth of fighters is likely to generate an entirely new unit within the Air Force. 

Despite its potential, the fighter class is notably lagging in its timeline. It has been subjected to several significant delays during the 2010s. Originally, the Soviet Union was slated to bring forth their fifth-generation fighters in 2001 under the auspices of the MiG 1.42 program. However, the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s dissolution inflicted a major setback on the industry. 

This turn of events provided an opportunity for both China and the United States. Seizing the moment, they significantly advanced their own fighter class programs, thereby establishing a substantial lead.


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