The Russian military has received a very special early Christmas present from the Sukhoi aircraft maker, with the first mass-produced Su-57 finally joining its ranks. The manufacturing process of the new fighters is expected to accelerate in the months to come and, by the late 2020s, Moscow will have at least 76 in its inventory.
The new machines are expected to become the backbone of the country’s frontline aviation fleet for years to come, test pilot Sergey Bogdan believes.
“This plane will serve far into the future, to the middle of the 21st century. It has enormous modernization potential,” Bogdan told RT. “On the basis of this excellent aerodynamic platform, it will be possible to create and develop new types of weapons. It has all the characteristics of a fifth-generation aircraft.”
Rocky development path
The Su-57 was conceived almost two decades ago, with the first prototype taking to the skies back in 2010. Around a dozen more, known during development as T-50 and PAK FA, were manufactured during the pre-production period.