Sukhoi is spending too much on developing the Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) instead of backing advanced military programmes, says Russian air force commander Gen Vladimir Mikhailov.


© Josef Gatial
Russian air force wants Sukhoi to spend more on T-50 next-generation fighter 

“There are some problems with funding for the fifth-generation fighter, but they to a lesser extent apply to the defence ministry rather than to Sukhoi,” Mikhailov says. “In parallel, Sukhoi is working on the civilian RRJ, which needs much money. They have taken some funds that might otherwise have gone to the combat aircraft and put them into the RRJ, hence the financial problems.”

Nevertheless, Mikhailov says work on Sukhoi’s T-50 next-generation fighter project is “generally on track”, with the airframe’s configuration now having been frozen. A prototype of the aircraft – selected to meet the air force’s fifth-generation fighter requirement – is expected to fly next year, he says.

Mikhailov reveals the air force is also considering backing the development of “a lighter aircraft with the same avionics and engine, but with one engine rather than two”. The lightweight variant would be cheaper to acquire, could fly from shorter airfields and carry four missiles against the T-50’s maximum of 12, he says. The proposal is linked to an Indian requirement for a new fighter in the 20-25t class.


Source: Flight International