The Russian Minister of Industry, Denis Manturov, confirmed on June 27 that a contract for the procurement of 76 Sukhoi Su-57 fighter aircraft, Russia’s first alleged indigenously designed and built fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, has been concluded between the Russian government and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).
Manturov spoke to reports at the “Army-2019″ forum taking place this week just outside of Moscow. The minister also said that he expects the Su-57 aircraft to be delivered to the Russian Air Force by 2028.
Additionally, Deputy Russian Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko noted at the forum on June 27 that an agreement regarding the acquisition of the Su-57 for the air force has been concluded on the same day.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
“Today we have signed a number of large-scale deals. These are firm contracts to be more exact,” he was quoted as saying by TASS news agency. “They relate to the Su-57 [fifth-generation fighter jet] and modern air-launched weapons for this plane.”
Interestingly, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced in 2018 that it will not mass-produce the Su-57. Nonetheless, in May Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian Air Force will induct 76 Su-57s by 2028.
The Russian Air Force is slated to receive two new Su-57s prototypes by the end of 2019 and two more aircraft in 2020. Notably, these aircraft will not be in serial configuration. Mass production is not expected to kick off before 2020.
The Russian military aircraft industry announced earlier this month that it is ready to start mass production of the Su-57. 10 Su-57 prototypes are currently undergoing various stages of testing and evaluation with the Russian Air Force.
The exact procurement costs for the 76 aircraft have not been revealed, although they are estimated at around $2.7 billion. Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, stated that the per-unit cost per Su-57 and associated equipment went down by 20 percent.
One of the technical challenges for the Russian military aircraft industry remains the Su-57s engine. A new next-generation engine will not be ready for serial production until next year, as I explained:
The Saturn izdeliye 30 will not be ready for serial production until at least 2020.
The new engine features increased thrust and fuel efficiency and is reportedly fitted with 3D thrust vectoring nozzles. [The Saturn izdeliye 30 also enables the Su-57 to supercruise without afterburners.]
All of the 10 Su-57 prototypes have been fitted with a derivative of the Russian-made Saturn AL-41F1S engine, the AL-41F1, an older aircraft engine also installed on the Sukhoi Su-35S Flanker-E.
Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport announced this month that the Su-57 will be shown at the MAKS airshow, held at the Zhukovky International Airport, southeast of Moscow in late August.