Russian Air Force Gets Stealthy Prototype

Sukhoi delivered the first stealthy PAK-FA fighter, also known as the T-50, to the Russian air force for flight testing, announced the aircraft manufacturer. The prototype of the fifth generation fighter arrived at the Chkalov State Flight Test Center at Akhtubinsk Air Base in southwest Russia on Feb. 21, states the company’s release. The company is currently flight testing four PAK-FAs in Zhukovsky, near Moscow, and has two additional airframes in use in ground tests. The first flight of the PAK-FA took place on January 2010. The Russian air force expects to receive its first PAK-FA production fighters by 2016 at the latest, reported RIA Novosti. Russia is co-developing the PAK-FA under an $11 billion deal with India, which is slated to receive its first prototype this year as well, reported India’s Business Standard. Indian air force officials recently criticized the PAK-FA’s stealth and performance “shortcomings,” specifically noting shoddy workmanship, antiquated systems, and Russia’s reluctance to share critical design data, according to the newspaper. Sukhoi has underscored that the current engines are only a stand-in for the aircraft’s eventual, advanced powerplants.