29 January 2010

Russian PAK-FA Flies

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Here is a decent quality picture
The aircraft made its first flight at Komsomolsk-on-Amur, duration about 45 minutes, the Sukhoi's air field near Russia's Pacific coast.

Note that this is more of a demonstrator than anything else, and by way of comparison, the BAE EAP, the demonstator for the Eurofighter Typhoon, first flew in August 1986, but entered service in August 2003, a 17 year lag.

To the degree that I can get a look at the cockpit arrangement, and it's a couple of times that I have paused the videos (below), it appears that the canopy has not gotten any sort of stealth treatment yet.

There also appears to be a fair amount of edge alignment.

This, along with the visible smoke trails from engines, implies to me that this is more a demonstrator than a prototype

The the 2nd video makes that fairly clear that they are staying with the straight inlets and widely spaced inlets of the Flanker and Fulcrum, , so I'm not sure how they keep RCS down. There might be radar blockers in the inlets.

Interesting, they retain the widely spaced straight through inlets of the Flanker and Forger. I wonder how they reduce the RCS, perhaps radar blockers in the inlets.

Also, it appears that agility is a larger priority, as it has a cranked delta wing, which tends to improve nose authority at higher angles of attack.

I wonder if they are operating under the assumption that sensor fusion and increased processing power will mitigate stealth going forward, or they may have decided that lowering RCS to improve jamming efficiency was a more economical path forward than going with extreme stealth.

H/t ELP Defens(c)e


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