Sukhoi’s design bureau has revealed the first blueprint of its new sixth-generation fighter jet project, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
TASS reports that Rogozin spoke to reporters last Wednesday to brief them on recent developments in Russia’s military aircraft industry.
“I’m referring also to new design concepts briefly presented by the Sukhoi design bureau and by the general designer appointed for all aircraft systems and armaments,” Rogozin said. “They have really come up with the designs for the creation of the sixth-generation fighter,” he added. Rogozin did not provide any additional details.
Rumors over a new Russian sixth-generation first publicly emerged in August 2013 when former Russian Air Force chief, Pyotr Deinekin, said that the Russian defense industry is working on a new generation of aircraft that most likely will be pilotless.
The head of the newly created Russian Aerospace Forces, Viktor Bondarev, said that the new aircraft will be available in a manned and unmanned version.
“It (the plane) will be modified in both versions,” Bondarev said, according to TASS. “If we stop, we will stop forever. Therefore, the work is going on – on the sixth and perhaps the seventh (generation) fighters.”
Bondarev also offered no specifics on the design of the new aircraft. In July 2014, Vladimir Mikhailov, head of of the department for military aviation programs at the United Aircraft Corporation, the majority owner of Sukhoi’s design bureau said that the first sixth-generation aircraft could take flight in the second half of the 2020s.
The CEO of the Moscow-based Advanced Research Foundation, Andrei Grigoriev, revealed in 2014 that his organization, founded in 2012 to support scientific research for Russia’s defense industry, has also been working on a new aircraft design:
Our mission is to lay the foundation for the creation of a sixth generation fighter. Several projects are under consideration. They focus primarily on materials and engines. An interesting project to create unique performance engines in cooperation with the consulting firm Lioulka is under consideration.
It remains to be seen whether the aircraft will move beyond the initial design stage given the current fiscal realities in Russia.
Meanwhile, Russia is pushing ahead with the introduction of a new fifth-generation fighter aircraft, based on the Sukhoi PAK FA (Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation) T-50 prototype. The T-50 aircraft is currently undergoing extensive flight trials.
As I reported in January 2016, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced that the new fifth-generation fighter jet will be inducted into the Russian Aerospace Forces in 2017. As of now, four PAK FA T-50 prototypes, along with two test beds of the fighter, have been delivered by Sukhoi. Three more prototypes will be delivered in the coming weeks.