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Russia is carrying on tests of its next-generation Sukhoi T-50 stealth fighters for equipping them with missiles and bombs. The T-50 fighter, a single-seat, twin-engine jet fighter, is the first operational aircraft using stealth technology to serve in Russia’s air force.
Designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau, the aircraft will be used to achieve air superiority and assist in ground attacks.
Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said “aviation weapons including guided air-to-air, air-to-surface missiles and bombs are being integrated on the fighter T-50, and the aircraft systems are being evaluated”.
According to defenseworld.net, the T-50 prototype first flew in January 2010. Its current versions are fitted with first-stage AL-41F1S turbofan engines manufactured by Russia’s aircraft engine maker NPO Saturn.
The second-stage, more powerful engines, designated as Izdeliye 30, are slated for production this year, ahead of the aircraft’s planned mass production and delivery in 2018.
The T-50 has two tandem main internal weapon bays each approximately 4.6 m (15.1 ft) long and 1.0 m (3.3 ft) wide and two small triangular-section weapon bays that protrude under the fuselage near the wing root.
Internal carriage of weapons preserves the aircraft’s stealth and significantly reduces aerodynamic drag, thus preserving kinematic performance compared to performance with external stores.
Similar to other stealth fighters such as the F-22, the airframe incorporates planform edge alignment to reduce its radar cross-section (RCS). Further the leading and trailing edges of the wings and control surfaces and the serrated edges of skin panels are carefully aligned at several specific angles in order to reduce the number of directions the radar waves can be reflected.