Watch PAK-FA’s first air show

Posted on Russia Today’s YouTube channel this morning:

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31 Responses to Watch PAK-FA’s first air show

  1. Robert 18 June, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    Awesome.

    The flight seems crisp.

  2. JRL 18 June, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

    Nice clip. A very impressive aircraft from any angle.

    BTW, am I the only one who wonders why the Russians seem so much further ahead in exploring the control envelope of their very recently unveiled T-50, compared to the rather sedate manouvering demonstrated by the F-35 to date? Is the F-35 flight control software that complex, and if so, why?

  3. Robert 18 June, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    @ JRL

    In brief, ‘smart’ fusion and commonality make F35′s flight and fire control software remarkably (and arguably, unnecessarily) complex.

    F35 operators don’t plan on out-maneuvering the opponents (on the ground or in the air), just ‘out-smarting’ them. Flight envelope expansion therefore is less of a emphasis compared to software maturity and integration.

    It’s a dangerous bet, in my opinion.

  4. MrSatyre 18 June, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    I’m neither an aerospace engineer or a flight control software engineer, but I have talked with a number of Russian pilots over the years, and they are the first to admit that the Russian design bureaus and pilots are far more daring than their Western counterparts, with very lax attitudes towards safety and proper testing procedures. Much of this, as I understand it, is borne from heavy pressure from the government to produce speedy results to either match or exceed performance in arenas where they are playing catch-up to the US.

  5. Stephen Trimble 19 June, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    I think we’re comparing apples and oranges here. The T-50 is not in the same era of its development life as the F-35. The T-50 right now is partly a data-collecting prototype, and partly a fund-raising show-horse. There’s a reason that acrobatic display happened in front of Vladimir Putin. Sukhoi needs money to start a real development and production program. The F-35 has a different list of priorities right now, but it wasn’t always that way. Remeber the similarly daring Mission X profile flown by the X-35C in 2001? To my knowledge, Lockheed’s F-35 flight test aircraft still haven’t beaten the X-35C’s Mach 1.2 record achieved during Mission X. But Lockheed isn’t necessarily worried about that either because they are not trying as hard to sell the jet anymore. Instead, Lockheed is in test-point collecting mode, and it seems all they can do to keep up with the daily schedule, although they’ve been doing better lately.

  6. Obamanite 19 June, 2010 at 12:52 am #

    Was that a full-burner takeoff? If so, not impressive. Raptor gets off the ground far more quickly. The very brief glimpse of its maneuvering indicates that like the Raptor, and as it stands to reason for such a large fighter, it is slow to roll. One can’t really tell very much about PAK-FA’s flying characteristics from this clip, while it is also impossible to prove or disprove Putin’s declarations about its alleged superiority in several areas vs. the F-22. Now, as someone else has mentioned, looks like in a few flights Sukhoi has already expanded more envelope than LM has in some three years or more of flight testing with several airframes. Not saying that PAK-FA is a better fighter than the F-35, but Sukhoi and its engineers and test pilots certainly seem to have more cojones than their American counterparts.

  7. RunningBear 19 June, 2010 at 2:09 am #

    AIM-120C-6; $400,000.00; Mach 4; 25g turning; 30 mile range; 40 lbs. High explosive blast-fragmentation;

    This ain’t vietnam!; can you out run and out turn this (2 each)?? check6

  8. w800i 19 June, 2010 at 2:22 am #

    I think I read that this prototype doesn’t have the super cruising engines as yet. It is using two older engines thus maybe explaining the less than sprightly performance.

  9. Robert 19 June, 2010 at 2:33 am #

    Quoting one Israeli general:

    If it is an electronic, you can always find a way to jam/ECM it. However, NO ONE can jam/ECM bullets.

    BVR is the name of the game these days. True. Be that as it may, dogfight/WVR will always be inevitable in real life engagement. When it comes to dogfight, kinetics matter more than any electronics.

    Even pilots of the indisputable king of BVR (F22) horn their WVR skills, religiously.

  10. Bern 19 June, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    RunningBear, that’s a point – but the Russians have longer-ranged BVR missiles, and carry 3-4 times as many as most US aircraft. The real question is who will detect first? And that, of course, depends on just how stealthy the aircraft are. F-35 claims to be stealthy, at least in the forward sector, so might have a better chance of getting within AMRAAM range undetected. But if it doesn’t kill the enemy, it then can’t get away, as it’s well inside the range of Russian missiles, and can’t outrun the Flankers or similar aircraft. Plus that round nozzle on the tail end isn’t very stealthy, from what I’ve read (the PAK-FA is even worse off in this respect, but at least it’s got some legs to maybe get out of the kill envelope before the missiles reach it).

  11. Ed 19 June, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    Obamanite – I thought the same thing when watching the video, regarding the takeoff. But to me it seemed that the for the first flight it was much quicker, so I guess they weren’t pushing it. Which makes sense of course, it’s only a prototype… And it doesn’t even have the final engines, so even if they did push it it says nothing, really.

    I read somewhere (probably Wikipedia) that they even want to make a naval version of this thing… I’d be quite impressed.

  12. Aussie Digger 20 June, 2010 at 1:03 am #

    Bern,

    You might want to think again about the LOAN on the F-35. Just because a former would-be contractor opines something on a blog, doesn’t necessarily make it true…

    You might want to research Chevron exhaust nozzle patents, to further inform yourself, in this area… Here’s a link that may help…

    http://www.google.com/patents?id=UAAJAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Cheers,

    AD

  13. Dude 20 June, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    Aussie Digger,

    The mentioning of LOAN and link to Chevron nozzle patent are barely relevant to the dialogue here.

    So you know how to read and Google-search? Bravo.

  14. Bern 21 June, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Dude,
    He was responding to my comment about the F-35 having poor aft-end stealth (in relation to not being able to turn & run after expending it’s missiles without exposing a high RCS). So it’s kinda relevant…

  15. 7K7 21 June, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    Codename ‘Firefox’ ;-)
    Just remember to think in Russian

  16. Robert 21 June, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    It is indeed interesting how the Russians would fly something so top-notched off a grassy airport whereas the Americans and allies need/prefer to keep their jets in spotless (if not picture-perfect) environments. Just saying.

  17. Stephen Trimble 21 June, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    I definitely understand the point. But which aircraft industry would you rather have right now: Russian or American? Maybe there’s a method to the madness in Western testing and operational standards??

  18. Robert 21 June, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    Hi Stephen,

    Well, i would probably prefer a standard and practice somewhere in between the two extremes.

    The Israelis, for instance, hold on to key specs/steps while being flexible and adaptive on details, IMO.

  19. Stephen Trimble 21 June, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    Fair point, Robert.

  20. Atomic Walrus 22 June, 2010 at 7:57 am #

    The Israelis haven’t fielded a new fighter design since the Lavi, and that didn’t get past a prototype. You can be flexible when your designs are Mirage knock-offs, maybe not so much when they’re F-35s.

  21. Robert 22 June, 2010 at 11:59 am #

    Yet they excel in missile tech and dominate in UAV market.

    Arguably, the West has become a tab too F35-obsessed these days.

  22. Enthusiast 22 June, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    >>>Was that a full-burner takeoff? If so, not impressive.

    It’s very unlikely full-burner takeoff (look, flame from engine during takeoff is not visible on video).

    >>>Raptor gets off the ground far more quickly. The very brief glimpse of its maneuvering indicates that like the Raptor, and as it stands to reason for such a large fighter, it is slow to roll.

    Why it should be slow to roll? Not a fact.

    >>>One can’t really tell very much about PAK-FA’s flying characteristics from this clip, while it is also impossible to prove or disprove Putin’s declarations about its alleged superiority in several areas vs. the F-22.

    True. Considering that PAK-FA have new airframe (with more compromise on all-aspect stealth with high priority for aerodynamics), more advanced moving surfaces (LERX, all-moving vertical tails) and engine with 3D thrust vectoring, PAK-FA should be more maneuverable than F-22.
    Also, PAK-FA is bigger bird, so it’s should have more fuel load and more range.
    Putin is also said about advantage over F-22 in terms of armament. It’s also could be true. Longer weapon bays on PAK-FA should allow to fit ultra-long range missiles/bomb internally. PAK-FA will got 5 AESA radars (3 X-band, 2 L-band) against Raptor’s one.

  23. Kratsuli 23 June, 2010 at 2:15 am #

    Anyone else notice all the roughly finished screws and “fit and finish”. The cockpit doesn’t look treated for stealth. Reminds me of when that Mig -25 defected and we found out it wasn’t nearly as capable as we feared. I bet this thing isn’t nearly as stealthy as these guys are posturing.

  24. Robert 23 June, 2010 at 2:24 am #

    No source (not even Sukhoi) says PAK FA will be ‘that’ stealthy.

    True. We overestimated the MiG25; MiG29 & Su27/T-10, however, were underestimated during the 90′s.

  25. Nick Leef 23 June, 2010 at 7:48 am #

    Speculation, even reasoned and informed speculation, on the technology of F-22/-35 versus Chinese or Russian is entertaining to read and often throws up some facets worth pursuing.

    Yet surely this is only ever going to be half of the whole picture, for the one thing all fifth-generation fighters have in common is a pilot.

    Which nations train, motivate and support their pilots the most? Which nations have the most air combat experience to guide them? Which nations have the most devoted and resourceful maintenance personnel to support the jets so that when they have to go they do actually GO!!!

    The technology is vital certainly, it is useful in many ways to keep an informed and questioning eye on it all, but in the only test that matters it comes down to the people, yes?

  26. Robert 23 June, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    Kudos, Nick – well said.

  27. enthusiast 23 June, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    >>>Anyone else notice all the roughly finished screws and “fit and finish”.

    Really? It does not look “roughly finished” for me.

    >>>The cockpit doesn’t look treated for stealth.

    Serial production aircraft will get new frameless “stealth” canopy

    >>>Reminds me of when that Mig -25 defected and we found out it wasn’t nearly as capable as we feared.

    MiG-25 was interceptor, and it was good enough for its mission (bombers inteception)

    >I bet this thing isn’t nearly as stealthy as these guys are posturing.

    Based on first look on the prototype?

  28. Anonymous 23 June, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    “Anyone else notice all the roughly finished screws and “fit and finish”. The cockpit doesn’t look treated for stealth. Reminds me of when that Mig -25 defected and we found out it wasn’t nearly as capable as we feared. I bet this thing isn’t nearly as stealthy as these guys are posturing.”

    … and it doesn’t have a radar or an IRST either, I bet its avionics are rubbish as well. Seriously though, as enthusiast says, this is an early prototype – what were you expecting in terms of signature reduction measures? Take a look at the X-35 to put things into perspective a bit, the outer mold line is about the only characteristic you can reasonably draw some conclusions about at this point. Operational Su-30MKs and MiG-29Ks feature RAM coatings and canopy treatment, do you genuinely believe what we see here is Sukhoi’s last word regarding LO?

    Also, as enthusiast has already pointed out, the surface finish is pretty smooth particularly compared to earlier Russian aircraft (but also perfectly acceptable by Western standards). Comparing the glossy paint on the PAK-FA with the matt finish generally found on Western service aircraft, not to mention (again) the lack of RAM coatings compared to operational US VLO aircraft, is misleading.

  29. Suellen Merine 23 July, 2010 at 12:33 am #

    The Avengers Was my favorite comic book ever. Most people would agree, What do you guys think yours was?

  30. hornybannana 27 August, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    besides its performance i really admire its desing it looks way better with its new paint job also but i would really love for its exhaust to not be round and for it to have an interrior weapons cabin

  31. moryphius 3 September, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    does the pak fa get a free pass?
    pretend the EARLY STAGED pak fa was the f-22 or f-35.
    where are the doubts?
    where is the SAME LEVEL of questioning the ability of the pak fa??????…….
    looking from a logical stand point,
    avionics,u.s has excelled on for 40 or 50 years,true or false?what about russia so to speak sitting on the side lines for 10 plus years(90′s)was that a henderence.
    u.s drarfs russia’s budget for these aircraft,can you get more done with alot more money,true or false?.
    u.s has been working with stealth technology for 35 YEARS(f117,b-2,f-22,f-35).one would think u.s has learned a few tricks with all that stealth history true or false?.

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