The mysterious fighter plane is still covered with tarpaulin, which Russia is expected to unveil at the International Aerospace Exhibition 2021 (MAKS 2021)
This new fighter, is the first single-engine fighter aircraft to be produced after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The aircraft will use the same technology as the Su-57 5th generation heavy fighter, but it will be lighter, cheaper to manufacture and maintain. In fact, most of the stealth technology applied to the new fighter is already present on the Su-57, so it is expected to significantly reduce the research and development (R&D) cost of the project.
The new fighter will use advanced artificial intelligence technology, which has recently been incorporated into the MiG-35 fighter, and a new thrust vectoring control system. This new Russian fighter will surpass all foreign fourth-generation fighters in terms of combat capabilities, and can compete with fifth-generation fighters like the US F-35.
Unlike the F-35, the new Russian fighter will have super maneuverability. Previously, this ability on light fighters was only available in China’s J-10C fighter. In addition, the new Russian fighter can reach supersonic speeds without the use of afterburner. The new Russian fighter is expected to be equipped with the Saturn 30 engine, which will be equipped on the Su-57 fighter from 2022. According to Russian sources, this will be the most powerful fighter jet in the world.
Russia has repeatedly set world records for military aircraft engines, including the R-35 engine for the MiG-23 fighter in 1970 and the D30-F6 engine for the MiG-31 interceptor since 1981. The Tu-160M strategic bomber currently uses the most powerful turbofan engine, the NK-32M, which produces 245 kN (55,000 lbf) thrust with afterburner.
It is highly likely that the new Russian aircraft will be mainly for the export market. But it is possible that the Russian Air Force can also buy a significant number of such fighters. Currently, the Russian Air Force maintains a relatively large number of MiG-29 and Su-27. These aircraft were all built under the Soviet Union, so it was time to replace them. Maintenance requirements for the new fighter are expected to be much lower than for the Su-30.
However, due to weight limitations, the new fighter can also use a new engine, derived from the technology of the Saturn 30 engine. Although the new engine may suffer from reduced thrust, fuel consumption and maintenance requirements are lower. And it is almost certain that the new engine will be much more powerful than the engines of all fourth-generation fighters.
At present, little is known about the technical features of this new single-engine fighter. But it is believed that the new fighter will have excellent stealth, a very high thrust-to-weight ratio and weapon payload, and be equipped with a range of advanced airborne weapons.