The Russian military aircraft industry has started manufacturing the Sukhoi Su-57 fighter aircraft, Russia’s first alleged indigenously designed and developed fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, according to the office of Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Yuri Borisov.
In a press release quoted by TASS news agency, the vice-premier’s office stated that Sukhoi of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has begun fulfilling the terms of a contract signed by UAC and the Russian government at the “Army-2019″ forum, which took place last month outside of Moscow.
“A state contract was signed at the Army 2019 international arms exhibition between the Defense Ministry of Russia and the Sukhoi Company for the delivery of a batch of Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jets. The Sukhoi has started to fulfil its contractual obligations,” the statement reads.
The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) will receive the “the most advanced fifth-generation multirole fighter jet, which will boost the domestic Aerospace Force’s combat capabilities,” the statement adds. “The first plane will be delivered to the customer before the end of 2019.”
Last month, Deputy Defense Minister Alexey Krivoruchko, during a visit to the UAC Komsomolk-on-Amur aircraft plant in the Russian Far East, stated that the facility is ready to begin mass-producing the Su-57 fighter jet.
The Russian Air Force was expected to receive two Su-57s prototypes by the end of 2019 and two more aircraft in 2020. However, it is likely that the two aircraft will not be delivered in serial configuration. Full-scale mass production is not expected to kick off until 2020.
In May, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that the Russian Air Force will procure a total of 76 Su-57s by 2028. Only a year earlier, the Russian MoD had announced in 2018 that it will not mass-produce the Su-57.
Prior to the signing of June 2019 contract, the Russian MoD had only committed to buying 16 of the jets by 2027. 10 Su-57 prototypes are at the moment undergoing testing and evaluation with the Russian Air Force.
Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, revealed earlier in 2019 that the per-unit cost per Su-57 and associated equipment went down by 20 percent. The cost of the 76 aircraft is estimated at around $ 2.7 billion. Shoigu did not explain why the Su-57 suddenly became cheaper.
Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport announced last month that the Su-57 will be shown at the MAKS airshow, held at the Zhukovky International Airport, southeast of Moscow in late August.
India withdrew in 2018 from the co-development and production of the Su-57, known in India as the Perspective Multi-role Fighter (PMF). Earlier this month, the Russian government once more offered India to resume co-development of the aircraft.