Russian 6th generation fighter plane to be unmanned

09/02/2013 - 00:00

By Dmitry Litovkin -

On the eve of the opening of the MAKS-2013 airshow, the former commander in chief of Russia’s air force, Peter Deynekin, announced that design work had begun in Russia on a 6th generation fighter plane. Deynekin did not reveal the timescale for its appearance nor its technical characteristics, but the army general underlined that this aircraft would be unmanned.

The fact that this year’s MAKS airshow serves as a presentation platform for the 5th generation Russian T-50 fighter adds weight to Gen. Deynekin’s recent admission. The three T-50 aircraft displayed before specialists and onlookers during the show demonstrated immediately that not only is Moscow keeping up with the arms race with Washington with its F-22, but it is ready to be a world leader in the field of military aircraft production. 

The T-50 is the trump card in the MAKS-2013 flying program. It was first demonstrated publicly in 2011, and three examples have already flown at MAKS-2013. Moreover, they successfully performed the whole range of the Sukhoi design bureau’s signature aerial pirouettes, including “The Bell,” “Pugachev’s Cobra,” and many others that no other fighter in the world can accomplish at present. 

Specialists do not hide the fact that the T-50 is the quintessence of everything that is advanced about Russian military aviation: stealth technology, a high-performance radar system, precision-guided weapons, high maneuverability and world-class onboard electronics.  It is the combination of these factors together that radically sets the T-50 apart from earlier 4th generation aircraft. Currently, the aircraft is undergoing testing, while the in-service date is not expected to be before 2016.