~ .•..

MILITARY SUKHOI T-50
Piotr Butowski reports on the latest developments to the Sukhoi T-SO fighter
n
e ve months have
passed Since the
maiden flight of Russia's
f fth generat on fighter,
the Sukhol T-SO.
developed within the PAK FA
programme. In December 2009
T-SQ-KNS, a non-flying example,
0211
Overall shape of the T-SO is
not surprisingly an evolution
of the Flanker, adapted for
the requirements of stealth
technology, supersonic cruise
speed and agility. In comparison
to the Flanker the T-SO's two
engines are mounted further
apart to allow weapon bays to
be positioned between them.
Vertical tail surfaces are scaled
down, single-piece and all-
moving. The fuselage has an
angular shape to reduce radar
cross-section and the wing is
blended with canards and the tail
planes. These design aspects
combined with a wide fuselage
creates a uniform aerodynamic
Popovkin, the
first deputy of the
Russian Defence Minister
for armament purchases,
announced that in 2013, after the
first stage of the aircraft's trials are
complete, the Ministry of Defence
will buy an initial batch of six to
ten T-SOs for military trials.
Procurement of aircraft for
operational units will begin
in 2016. "We estimate the
Air Force's need for 100
aircraft [through to 2020]," said
Popovkin. Colonel General
Alexander Zelin
Chief of the Russian Air Force,
then announced future orders by
the Air Force for "more than 60
fighters" (a number within the
National Armament Programme
through to 2020).
The announcements made to
date seem to be realistic because
the PAK FA programme has
undisturbed funding and with
only minor delays all programme
timelines previously announced
will be kept.
.02,11
PAK FA's Supersonic
Environment
performance,
flight control and
navigation systems,
aircraft installations and engine
testing. Aircraft three (T-SO-3) wilt
fly in 2011 and aircraft four (T-SO-
4) in 2012. Both will be equipped
with a full missions system suite;
neither T-50-1 or T-SO-2 are
fitted with radar or other mission
systems.
Two other non-flying examples
are undergoing tests. T-50-KNS
(Kompleksnyi Naturnyi Stend,
Complex Full-scale Stand) is
used for synchronization of all
construction components, and
T-SO-O for static stress tests.
Factory trials of the T-SO
prototypes will continue until
2012 at Zhukovsky (the Russian
air industry test centre) followed
by state trials at the Ministry of
Defence test centre at Akhtubinsk.
During a press conference
at Farnborough International
Airshow in July 2010, Mikhail
Pogosyan, head of the Sukhoi
Company, stated that the T-50
test programme comprises more
than 2,000 test flights. He also
announced plans to display
the T-SO at the MAKS air show
at Zhukovsky in August 2011.
Pogosyan also said that the fifth
generation fighter "exceeds
preceding aircraft three times in
terms of effectiveness". The PAK
FA will be more expensive than
current fourth generation aircraft,
mainly because of the costs of
its new systems, but "for export
it will be much cheaper than the
rivals," he said.
In June 2010 Vladimir
The second prototype, T-SO-2,
was expected to fly by the end
of 201 0, but its maiden flight is
delayed and is likely to take place
in late January at Komsomolsk-
on-Amur.
Aircraft T-SO-1 and T-SO-2
will be used for handling and
Vladimir
Putin
watched a
four-minute
display by T-SO-1
at Zhukovsky on June
17; its 16th flight. Five
practice flights were made
during the days leading up to the
display.
A longer break in the test
flying programme took place
between mid June and August,
a period that was lengthened by
the terrible forest and moor fires
around Moscow.
In late August, T-SO-1 returned
to the air, conducting intensive
preparations for a display that
took place on August 31 when
the aircraft was demonstrated
at Zhukovsky to a delegation
from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd
(HAL) and the Indian Ministry
of Defence. By the end of
November 2010, aircraft T-SO-1
had made 40 flights.
performed
high-speed
taxiing on the
runway at the
Komsomolsk-on-
Amur plant, and then
on January 29, 2010,
aircraft T-SO-1 made the
maiden flight.
During a two-week break
from test flying, T-SO-1 was
painted in a three-colour
camouflage, with side number
51. It flew again on February 12,
the first of a series of six flights
that was completed on March
26, after which it was dismantled
and airlifted onboard an An-124
transport aircraft (with T-SO-KNS)
to Zhukovsky near Moscow on
April 8. The aircraft was re-
assembled and made its first flight
at Zhukovsky (its seventh flight)
on April 29. Subsequent flights
followed on May 14, May 25 and
June 3.
Prime Minister of Russia
34
MILITARY SUKHOI T-50
surface that easily adapts to all
flight envelopes.
Fourth generation fighters
Ike the Flanker reach supersonIC
speed for onIy short periods
of time and their typical flight
envelopes lay beneath the speed
of sound. By comparison the T-SO
not only cruises at supersonic
speed (a capability known as
supercrUlse). but also and most
importantly manoeuvres and
fights at supersonic speed. These
charactenstics impose significant
requirements on the aircraft's
aerodynamic layout, the engines
must be capable of generating
igh thrust without afterburner
and Its mission systems must react
quickly to threats.
The most characteristic
feature of the T-SO's aerodynamIc
layout are the forward stretched
wing· root extensions, ended
by large moving flaps on the
leading edge, connected with
the wings by elastic couplings.
The extens ons shift the centre
of pressure forward, increasing
the static Instability, which is
espec ally important in supersonic
fI ght, when the centre of pressure
naturally shifts aft and the aircraft
becomes too stable and less
manoeuvrable. Static instabilIty
of the T-SO amounts to 10-12%;
by comparison, the Su-27M
Flanker has 5-6%, and the Su-27
s statically neutral. Thanks to
high static instability the T-50 can
manoeuvre at supersonic speed
much bett:er than any previous
tIghter
The T-SO has triangular wings
WIth a leading edge sweep of
48 and a reverse sweep to the
trai Ing edge of _10
c
, smoothly
blending into a very broad
1ft-producing fuselage. The
w'ngtlps are cut. There IS a long
nose flap on the leading edge
and two sections of flaperons on
the trailing edge. Single-piece
honzontal tail planes are similar in
shape to the wings. Vertical tail
surfaces are also single piece, are
relatIve y small planes set at an
obtuse angle of 26
Moving engine nozzles
functIon in the same way as the
Su-30MKI Flanker: they move in
one plane (up and down), but
the planes of movement are
tl ted from vertical: the right one
to the right, and the left one to
the left. Thus the nozzles move
along the arms of the V letter and
provide control in all directions.
All control surfaces and engine
nozzle movements are controlled
by aKSU-50 (Kompleksnaya
Sistema Upravlenya) digital flight
control system, developed by the
Av onlka Company of Moscow.
Thanks to extended wing high-lift
devices and vanable thrust vector,
02
1
1
the aircraft is capable of operating
from short airstrips.
The T-SO aircraft is powered
by two Saturn AL-41 Fl (izdeliye
117) engines, rated at 15 tons
(147kN/33.046Ib) of thrust each.
It IS a thorough upgrade of the
AL-31 F engine used by the 5u-27
with a larger diameter fan, new
hlgh- and low-pressure turbines,
upgraded combustion chamber
and a new FADEC control system,
integrated with the aircraft's
control system. The AL-41 F1
engines will be the power plant
of the PAK FA fighters at least
until 2020. Production of a
new engine, rated at 18 tons
(176.5kN/39.679Ib) of thrust is
expected at a later date.
Survivability
thr()ugh ' S ~ ~ a l ~ h '
According to published
assessments a tenfold reduction
of an aircraft's radar cross section
Increases its survivability during
the mission by 40%. Alexander
Davidenko, Chief Designer of
the PAK FA at the Sukhoi design
bureau says, that the radar cross
section of previous generation
aircraft, for example the 5u-27
amounts to 12 square metres, and
the American F·22 - some 0.3-0.4
square metres. The PAK FA will
be in this respect "not worse than
the F-22, but close to it", says
Davidenko, Meaning that the
radar cross section of the PAK FA
wi I be at least 30 times smaller
than that of the 5u-27, hence its
survivability is twice greater.
Tl,e fuselage of the T-SO is
shaped by facets placed at
different angles; in its construction
special materials are used.
Weapon bay and wheel well
doors have 'toothed' edges and
the production version will be
covered with radiation absorbing
skin. According to Alexander
Davidenko, the share of
composites in the airframe weight
amounts to 25% and in the aircraft
overall,70%,
3
The most important design
solution used to reduce the T-50's
radar cross section is the use of
internal weapon bays to carry its
basic weapons load. Two 1.0m
(3ft 3in) wide and 4.6m (15ft 1in)
long bays, positioned in tandem,
occupy the entire length of the
fuselage ventral surface. from the
nose wheel well to the engine
nozzles housed between the
engines. Both bays will carry
medium- and long range air-to-aIr
missiles and precision-guided air-
to-ground munitions
However the airCI ~ f t also needs
short range a r-tO-alr m'sSl es for
close-air combat. The seeker of
such a missile must lock on to
the target before aunch, wh eM is
mpossible, It the mIssile S carr:ed
in a main fuselage weapon bay
because the bay's walls obscure
the miss Ie's seeker.
Tl,eoretlcal y, a short range
missile might be launched 'blind'
controlled by autopi ot accordl"g
to prel minary target ndlcatic
and thel Jock on to the target
in flighl But in practice this
4
1T-50-' ts·n e f g tfmm
Komsorr. k on-Am r pant 0
January 29 L 'f:fJ 2 T·50-1 on
foal approach to Komsomf)lsk.- n
AmUf. The r ght 5 de ob ong under
wing fairing IS easily seen near he
fuselage 3 The T SO's tandem
internal weapon bays can c early be
seen under the fuselage extending
from a forward point adjacent the
engine mlets to the engne nozzles.
4 Two drag chutes help to slo......
T-SO- 1 on OIl'OUl after land n9 on
the runwa}> t K soma sk-o -ArT'UI
fa oWing the ry! e·s m den 19 t a
January 29 ''If'1:fl
the COCkpit but at east three
sensors, search ng the space
around the a rcraft. Geofjzika- V
based In Moscow IS develop· ng
a new helmet·mounted sight and
dsplay (HMSD) for the PAK FA.
A fllght-nav·gation system,
central computer and the man
machine Interface are be ng
developed at the RPKB deSign
bureau at Ramenskoye.
The T-50 cockpit differs very
little from the 5u·35 and is
equipped with two large 380mm
(15 inch) LCD displays and three
smaller control panel displays
positioned throughout the
cockpit The only difference·s a
new wide-ang e (30x22°) ShKAI 5
head-up d splay made by :he
Elektroavtomat lea Company
based in St Petersburg the
Su-35 has a more conventlona
IKSh-1 M I1UD made by the RPKB
Company)
Developrrent work on the
Sh121 radar and other sensors s
ongoing. The first experimenta
example of the forward Sh12
1
radar antenna for the PAK FA
was made in November 2008
and displayed by the Tikhomirov
NIIP institute at the August 2009
MAKS airshow. Three examples
of the radar are currently
undergoing Jab trials; in 2011
2012 two of them, along with
other m SSton systems wi be
fitted to airuaft ....·50--3 and T-50-4
SUKHOI T-50 MILITARY
2
any position around the aircraft.
Sensors that monitor the air
space and ground surface aroulld
the aircraft Will be used with the
aircraft's high manoeuvrabIlity,
and various weapons to
accomplish this.
Another essential component
of all-aspect awareness is the
aircraft's ability to link into a
secure digital communication
network. To this end the PAK FA
will have secure communication
links to enable the exchange of
data with other aircraft, airborne
and ground-based command
points. The Russian design
bureaus are working on thiS
requirement, but unfortunately
no more information is currently
available
The degree of system
integration under design for the
PAK FA is much higher than that
of the Su-27 Flanker which has
the radar, electro-optical (EO)
sight and the helmet-mounted
sight integrated with each other,
enabling for example. the EO
sight to feed target coordinates to
the radar.
PAK FA will have a significantly
enhanced sensor suite and the
Sh121 radar system will have five
antennas (six if the millimetre
radar housed in a pod is counted),
but not one in the nose
The Atoll EO system is no
longer a single 'egg' in front of
The disadvantage of the
conformal weapon bay s the
increase of the aircraft's mid-
section, but the advantage is the
fuselage inner space freed up
that can for example be used to
carry fuel
All aspect Awareness
and
The task of the PAK FA is to
fight all kinds of tactical targets
in the air, on the ground and on
the surface of the ocean, from
way S 'leffect ve: n a dy1 afT'lc
ose a .. combat scel"'a,.,o t"'ere
w be nsuff c ent M and the
probab I ty of m ss g the target
w be very high.
Designers of the T-SO have
used so-called 'quick bays (Bystryi
otsek n Russian) in the shape of
oblong under wing fairings, near
the fuselage to carry short range
missiles for the close air combat.
In comparison the F-22 Raptor
has bays especially designed to
Sidewinder missiles located
n t e $ des of the fuselage
02 "1 35
MILITARY SUKHOI T-SO
2
dnggea thefi
e • 0 tl- retract s e q u e ~ c e
PAK FA nrototype T-50-1 makes
a sp ted departure f C1) J,e
.'.ay at Zhukovsky Sec:nds
fr m touch down at Zhukovsky, this
'ew of the T-50- 1 shows the small
<;;Ingle piece vertical tail surfaces
s 1 at an obtuse angle of 26'" A
test pi at climbs into the cockpIt d
so- 1 at Zhukovsky on June 17 fe'
C€'11cnstrat;-:-n i ght for the P, me
M s"erofRu saVlad-m-rF,tn
4L..._.;..... ~ ~ _____=
: 36 . ••...... .02.11
"'..-
known in Russia as the 'optical
architecture' of the fighter, is
being developed.
A precise configuration of the
Atoll system is nof knowP. but
it will consist of at least three
sensors, The first, typical of
previous Russian fighters, is a
sight mounted in the 'egg' on
the starboard Side in fro. t of the
cockpit. The second s the upper
hemisphere observation device
mounted on the fuselage aft of
the cockpit and the third is for
the lower hemisphere (ground
surface) observation device
in development for UOMZ by
the Vav.lov OptiC InstItute at 5t
Petersburg. The lower sensor wi
probably be but
this is unconfirmed.
All three sensors are active
and passive in the infrared band
(not just passive I ke previous
SUKHOI T-SO MILITARY
the MiG-29 Fulcrum and 5u-27
Flanker fighters were designed by
NPO Geofizika, and produced by
the UOMZ plant at Yekaterinburg.
In the 19905 Geofizika broke up
into several smaller companies
and largely lost its potential,
while UOMZ was growing. In
2002 UOMZ, employing some
Geofizika employees opened
its engineenng division Ural-
Geofizika in Moscow, which
currently designs new EO
sights. is the
main contractor of the Atoll
programme, within which the
PAK FA:s electro-optical system,
supplied by NPP Istok of Fryazino
(the X-band) and NPP Pulsar of
Moscow (the L-band).
Chief antenna designer at
NIIP, Anatoly 5inani claims, that
in series production the price of
an X-band module will amount to
20,000-25,000 roubles (£450-550)
each, and the front radar antenna
has more than 1,500 modules.
Side antennas are much smaller.
X-band modules are biased to
Gallium Arsenide (GaAs), and the
L-band modules are biased to
silicon.
Thirty years ago, the infrared
search and track devices for
FEATURES OF THE PAK FA
The complete Sh121 radar
system has five antennas: the
forward X-band (centimetre
wavelength) two smaller X-band,
situated on the Sides of the
forward antenna and two L-band
(decametre wavelength) in the
wing leading edges. Additionally
a Ka-band antenna (millimetre
wavelength) may be carr-ed
n a pod. The NIIP institute
emphas ses that the production
technology and components
utilized in antenna construction
are Russian; transceiver modules
wIll be produced by the GRPZ
plant at Ryazan from elements
,J211· 37
4
3
5
EVERYTHING NEW
The PAK FA is a giant programme of the-Russian aviation industry,
involving several hundreds of companies, developing and integrating new
systems, materials and technologies
NPP Zvezda of Tomi/ino near Moscow is developing the new K-36D-5
ejection seat especially for the PAK FA (as early as 2009, the company
supplied two experimental seats for T-SO prototypes). Zvezda also
supplies the SOZhE-50 (Sistema Obespecheniya Zhiznedeyatelnosti
Ekipazha) system, comprising the oxygen and anti-G systems, flight suit
and helmet.
Test pilots flying the T-50 currently use the ZSh7 helmet, which will be
replaced by the new, cheaper, lighter and more durable Z5h 10 variant.
PAK FA uses a new auxiliary power unit developed by the Aerosila
Company of Stupino.
Even the main 1,050mm diameter and 365mm-wide wheel tyres are new
manufactured by the Sibur company.
2
Company of Kaluga and is
integrated with the Sh121 radar
system. The Vympel Company
in Moscow is developing the
UV-SO, a launcher intended for
conventional thermal and radar
decoys, as well as single use ECM
transmitters; all of SOmm (2 inches)
calibre.
The MKB Vympel design
bureau in Moscow is developing
all ofthe missiles and internal
missile launchers for PAK FA.
A typical weapon load for
air-to-air missions consists of four
medium range K-77M missiles
and two short range K-74M2s.
The K-77M missile is currently
undergoing trials and will soon
examples), and can track and
engage multiple air and ground
targets simultaneously. Even
less is known about the T-SO's
self-defence system. Certainly
the antennas of the Sh121 system
and the Atoll EO sensors will be
utilized. and probably four laser
sensors mounted on the aircraft,
covenng 360
0
In azimuth.
Information collected and
processed will be used for threat
assessment, turning on jamming
devices or launching decoys and
giv ng recommendations to the
pIlot.
The PAK FA's electronic
jamming system is reportedly
being developed by the KNIRTI
38 0211
the programme is vital for
Investment and the order is
valued by the Russian authorit e_
so much so that an Ind-an
delegation was Invited for
taxiing trials of the T-50-KNS at
Komsomolsk on Amur as early
as December 2009 In the future
Russia counts on se ling an export
version of the PAK FA (PMF) to
countries currently operating the
Su-30MKI (Malaysia and Algeria),
and initial talks were held
with Indonesia.
A gOOd t
upper fuse age and the forward
of the w I"\g 2 Good rear lew sho
f --50--1 3 Compute -generated
mage of the PAK FA:s cockp t • P
vIews h-s latest mount 5 Yun Be yl,
head of the NIIP radar des'gn bureau
(nght) and Anatoly 5manl, head of the
antenna division at NIIP together with
the first test example of a front AESA
antenna for the Sh121 adar systefTI
P,otl Butowsk 6 The maximum Size f
weapon to be carned Ins de the weaJ.= n
bays IS 4,2(X) x 400 x 400mm 165 x 6
x 16 .nches) and these are the exa
d mens ons of the new modular
a Ho--ground m ss e w th folded w
and f ns. Severa are ava ab e
fOf the Kh-38M Inc ud ng sam-actlve
aser, act ve radar and nfrared as we
as a satellite navIgation receive. A
Kh-38M ..... eighs up to 520kg (235Ib)
Including a 2SOkg (114Ib) warhead. The
missile's maximum range is 40km (25
miles), Potr Butowskl 7 A drawing from
Vympel of the UVKU (Unlfitsirovan oye
Vnutrifyuzelazhnoye Katapultnoye
Ustroystvo) uni-f ed ntema catapult
auncher. Vympe 8 The Raduga m e
des gn m atu zed :s Kh )8
antl·'adar m ss e above nto the Kh
SBU5hK version e ow to fit ins de e
PAK FA's -nterna ba Raduga
9 FaMard stretched w ng-root
extens ons have arge moving flaps n
the leading edge, and itre connected
With the wings by east c couplings
SUKHOI T-SO MILITARY
9
and the preliminary design will
be ready within 18 months. A
series of contracts will follow to
cover the next stages of the PMF
programme. India s expected to
produce 200-250 aircraft
Indian participation in
25 tons (55,11 Sib)
4.8m (15ft 9in)
5,Om (16ft 4m)
15 tons (147kN/33,046Ib)
Mach 1.3
19.7m (64ft 7in)
Engine thrust
---
Maximum speed
Cruise speed
Maximum range
Nominal take-off weight
-=
T-SO PROVISIONAL SPECIFICATION
length (without probe)
Wingspan
Height
Undercarriage track
of a twin-seat variant and the
integration of an advanced engine
with higher thrust at a later stage."
A week before, the chairman of
HAL Ashok Nayak told the Russian
RIA NovoStl news agency that
the contrat. value is 5295 mi lion
7
8
6= e ter ser"es product on and the
K 74M2 s yet tc oJ dergo flight
tests
AIr-to-ground weapons include
the Kh-58UShK anti-radiation
missIle which is due to enter
series production in 2011, the
modular universal Kh-38M missile
IS completing trials and the
KAB-SOOS guided bomb recently
entered production, two others,
the KAB-5OOM ann UAB-250 will
to low.
The a crah may carry a heavier
armament oad on four under
w n9 py ons; two under each wing
but such a weapons load is only
feas ble on miSSlors not requil ing
stealth,
Other new large tactical
munitions, currently entering or
due to enter production in the next
are the upgraded Kh-31 PM
anti-radiation m ssi e Kh-35U
and Kh-59MK antl-shlp missi es
and prec s'on-gu ded stand-off
1(h..59M2 mss es Further Onto
e future the PAK FA w receive
e t rety new ong medum and
wort range a' to-a r rTl SSI es
nc Ian Thre -j
Negotiations about Indian
)artlClpation in the PAK FA
)(fxramme have been ongoing
o nca y tel"'l years For the
.t t me a comn on RlJssian-
nc a f ghter became the
t e of ta ks between the
':Wo countr es Ju e 2001 In
Jan ary 2003, RUSSIa md Ind a
s gned the etter of Intention,
and n October 2007 s gned an
Inter-governmental agreement
about common development of
the fifth generation fighter aircraft
based on Sukhol's design. The
most recent step was made on
December 21,201010 New Delhi,
where Hindustan Aeronautics ltd
and Sukhoi with Rosoboronexport
5 gned a contract for preliminary
des :10 of the a rcraft In the
contract document wr nen in
Eng sh, the 0 nt fighter IS called
the PerspectIve MultI-role Fighter
(PMF) which is a dIrect (and
incorrect) translation of its Russian
<'lrrnnym PMI or Perspektivnyi
Mnogofunktsionalnyi lstrebitel
used by Sukhoi for the PAK
FA's export derivative. The
correct trans at on IS Future (or
Prospective) Muhirole Fighter.
An official Ind an MoD press
re ease referred to the Sukhoi T-50
as a 'techno ogy demonstrator"
made no ment on of thiS
deSignation and stated that the
PMF will be modified "to meet
IAF specificatIons which are much
more stringent"
The press release also says
hat "programme options include
th design and development
02.1" 39

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