Russia’s fifth-generation Su-57 fighter is set for increased combat capabilities as it integrates its second-stage engine, known as “product 30,” Rostec state corporation has announced.
The corporation’s press service told Ria Novosti that the Su-57 platform is advancing, focusing on enhancing its combat capabilities and incorporating cutting-edge technologies. Its overall effectiveness is on the rise.
“As for the power plants, the Su-57 aircraft is adapted to use both the first and second-stage engines. Even with the first-stage engine, the fighter meets the basic requirements for a fifth-generation aircraft,” the press service said.
Furthermore, the Russian corporation added that the fighter is undergoing flight tests with a second-stage engine. As part of the existing serial contract, there are plans to deliver an aircraft equipped with this advanced engine.
While Rostec has not revealed the specific details of the improved combat capabilities of the fifth-generation fighter jet, defense analyst Vijainder K Thakur, a former pilot in the Indian Air Force, provided a detailed analysis for EurAsian Times on the enhancements resulting from the integration of the second-stage engine in the Su-57.
In his comprehensive assessment, Thakur explained that the Su-57 was initially conceived with the groundbreaking Izdeliye 30 (Product 30) engine, allowing supersonic cruising without relying on fuel-intensive afterburners.
During its development and testing phase, the Su-57 utilized an interim power plant—the NPO Saturn Product 117 engine, derived from the Su-35’s AL-41F-1S after-burning turbofans.
The Izdeliye 30 engine is anticipated to significantly enhance the fighter’s thrust and fuel efficiency while reducing weight and maintenance demands concurrently.
A distinctive feature of the Izdeliye 30 is its serrated exhaust nozzle, also known as a chevron nozzle, which improves thrust efficiency, stability, maneuverability, and overall performance and reduces engine noise.
Notably, the implementation of serrated exhaust nozzles is expected to profoundly impact the aircraft’s infrared (IR) and radar signatures.
By altering the exhaust plume’s temperature distribution and shape, these nozzles make it more challenging for IR and radar sensors to detect and track the aircraft, enhancing its overall stealth characteristics.
Russia’s Su-57 Fighter Jet
The Su-57 is a fifth-generation multirole fighter, distinguished by its incorporation of stealth technologies and advanced electronics. Designed for versatility, this combat vehicle can carry weapons within the internal compartments of its fuselage.
The serial delivery of these cutting-edge aircraft began in 2022. As part of the continuing state armament program until 2027, the Russian Aerospace Forces are set to acquire 76 Su-57s by 2028.
Despite various setbacks during its development, Moscow remains confident that this fighter jet will eventually emerge as a pivotal defense equipment, playing a crucial role in deterring potential adversaries.
Even amid Russia’s involvement in the conflict with Ukraine, its defense industry remains actively engaged in maintaining production levels to deliver new batches of Su-57 to the Russian Aerospace Forces.
In October, Colonel Anatoly Matviychuk, a retired Russian special forces officer, highlighted the remarkable potential for growth in this fifth-generation fighter jet.
According to him, the Su-57 surpasses fourth-generation fighters in speed, maneuverability, firepower, and stealth, making it a formidable machine.
While acknowledging that the Americans have comparable aircraft, Matviychuk highlighted the Su-57’s significant potential for advancement. In contrast to fighters adopted just a few years ago, the Su-57 is a distinct vehicle designed to fulfill infantry support functions on the battlefield.
Meanwhile, the Su-57 has notably refrained from active combat, with potentially limited engagements involving firing missiles from Russian territory observed in the past year.
Western experts have speculated that Russia’s hesitancy to deploy the Su-57 in combat situations indicates a lack of confidence in the jet’s touted stealth capabilities and advanced technology.
This caution stems from a strategic effort to avoid potential reputational damage, given the perceived risk of losing one of these sophisticated aircraft to Kyiv’s surface-to-air missile systems, a scenario that Moscow seems keen on sidestepping.
However, Russian media reports suggested that the fifth-generation Su-57 fighters gain unique combat experience as they participate in tasks within the special operation zone.
Nonetheless, Russia, currently equipped with a limited inventory of fifth-generation Su-57 fighter jets, has been actively working to increase the production of this advanced aircraft in recent months.
In December 2022, Yury Slyusar, the head of the United Aircraft Corporation, announced that the aircraft manufacturer in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Russian Far East has achieved proficiency in mass-producing the Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation multirole fighters.