first published on February 23, 2018 by Will
A video reportedly out of Syria substantiates Russia’s claims that they have deployed their new Su-57 stealth fighter jets to the war torn nation.
Although the Su-57 program has been plagued with mechanical setbacks and cost overruns, Russia has wasted no time in getting it into the fight now that it is at the next testing phase. On 8 February 2018, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuriy Borisov said that the military was commencing combat trials of the aircraft, and this video reportedly filmed at Russia’s Khmeimim airbase along the Mediterranean Sea, and uploaded on 21 February confirms that statement.
The American military didn’t deploy the F-22 Raptor until almost two years after it had achieved Initial Operational Capability (2005). It underwent another ~two years of testing before it was finally deployed overseas in 2007. This deployment of the Russians would best be compared to the Americans deploying the F-22 in the year 2000, when it was still deep within the research and development phases.
Is this just the Russian way of testing military hardware? Or is this a saber-rattling publicity stunt as the Russian and American militaries stare at each other from across the Euphrates River.
Based on defense industry reports, the Su-57 PAK-FA (T-50 NATO designation) won’t actually operate anywhere near its full potential until at least 2025. Right now, the aircraft is powered by Saturn AL-41F1 afterburning turbofans, which is the same setup that is powering the current Su-35 Flanker. The actual engines intended for the Su-57 are the Saturn izdeliye 30 engines, and they likely won’t be equipped until at least 2025.
In fact, many of the systems inside this current Su-57 are the same systems inside the Su-35 Flanker. So what Russia deployed to Syria, and what we are seeing in the following video, is for all intents and purposes, a Flanker with a stealth fighter fuselage.