A Russian Air Force test pilot has flown the PAK-FA fifth-generation stealth fighter for the first time, Sukhoi says. Pilot VP Chkalov, who is assigned to the Gromov Flight Research Institute, flew the aircraft from the Zhukovsky airfield near Moscow on 25 April. Sukhoi says that the two-hour flight was successful.
Earlier in April, Mikhail Pogosyan, president of Sukhoi-parent company United Aircraft, said that the PAK-FA would enter operational testing in 2014. "In 2013 we are expected to wrap up its preliminary tests and start operational testing. In 2014, we are planning to start official state tests," Pogosyan told Russian media outlet Ria Novosti.
The first stage of those state trials should be completed by 2015. The PAK-FA developmental flight test phase includes six airframes, but one is a ground test vehicle. "Flight testing this year will go ahead with five aircraft," Pogosyan says.
Meanwhile, the PAK-FA's entry into service has been delayed by one year. "The T-50 fifth-generation jet should go into serial production and enter service in 2016," Russian president Vladimir Putin told Ria Novosti on 25 April.