Headlines have been abuzz today with the public unveiling of a new Russian fighter jet – the Sukhoi T-50. The first public appearance took place at the MAKS-2011 air show near Moscow on Tuesday; however, its first flight was logged early last year.
The Sukhoi T-50 is being developed through a partnership with India. The aircraft is envisioned as a mainstay in the air defense for both Russia and India, and according to CNN, is intended to match the United States’ F-22 Raptor. Like the F-22, the Russian T-50 is said to be capable of cruising at speeds 2.4 times the speed of sound and will be more agile than current Russian fighter aircraft due to thrust-vectoring of the engine nozzles allowing for higher-G maneuvers. The joint project has a $6 billion price tag, with the Indian government responsible for paying 35% of the bill. There is still speculation as to the cost of an individual aircraft and exactly how many Russia will be able to afford given that unit price. An initial claim is that it will be 2.5 times less than the F-22 Raptor.
For Russia, the aircraft will be the first new “major combat aircraft design to fly since the end of the Soviet Union”. According to RIA Novosti, Russia’s first stealth fighter jet is set to enter service in 2014-2015.