Although we offer rides in the MiG-29 we always look forward to what the other big aircraft manufacturer is doing. We talk about Sukhoi, and now they have made some very good progress with their T-50 jet fighter being tested and early flights already scheduled in 2014. Russia will start state flight tests of its fifth-generation T-50 fighter jet in 2014, United Aircraft Corporation’s President Mikhail Pogosyan told reporters. “In 2013 we are expected to wrap up its preliminary tests and start operational testing. In 2014, we are planning to start official state tests,” Pogosyan said on Tuesday, adding “the first stage of the state trials should be complete by 2015.” The test program involves six prototype airframes, including four flying, one static and one systems test airframe. Another flying prototype will join the tests this year, Pogosyan said. “Flight testing this year will go ahead with five aircraft,” he said. The T-50, also known as PAK-FA (future tactical fighter aircraft), first flew in January 2010 and was presented to the public at the Moscow Air Show in 2011. The T-50, which will be the core of Russia’s future fighter fleet, is a fifth-generation multirole fighter aircraft featuring elements of “stealth” technology,” super-maneuverability, super-cruise capability (supersonic flight without use of afterburner), and an advanced avionics suite including an X-band active phased-array radar. India will also buy a fighter aircraft based on the T-50, known as the FGFA (fifth-generation fighter aircraft). United Aircraft Corporation is the state holding company uniting Russia’s aircraft building industry including Sukhoi, a military and civil aircraft manufacturer.

Russian aircraft manufacturers must develop at least two competitive prototypes of a fifth-generation fighter jet, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Thursday. “Two variants of the future fighter jet must be developed to encourage competition,” Rogozin said at a meeting with Russian lawmakers.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the future fighter must possess all technical characteristics of a fifth-generation fighter, including elements of stealth technology, supersonic cruising speed, highly-integrated avionics, electronics and fire-control systems. The existing T-50 prototype, developed under the program PAK FA (Future Aviation System for Tactical Air Force) at the Sukhoi aircraft design bureau, made its maiden flight in Russia’s Far East in January 2010 and made its first public appearance at the MAKS-2011 air show near Moscow on August 17, 2011.

There are currently three fifth-generation T-50 fighters in tests, and a total number of 14 aircraft is planned for test flights by 2015. The T-50 is expected to enter service in 2016 and gradually replace MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker fighter jets in the Russian Air Force. This development is part of the multibillion dollars implementation plan to improve and develop the Russian Army, including jet fighters, over the next ten years.