The two prototypes of Russia’s fifth generation PAK FA fighter have logged 100 test sorties since the type’s maiden flight in January last year 2010.
The milestone was reached on November 3. The PAK FA (Advanced Tactical Frontline Fighter) performed its maiden flight on January 29, 2010, in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. At the beginning of March this year the second fighter took to the skies. Today, both aircraft are participating in ground and flight test trials. A third airframe is being used for load testing on the ground.
The first and second prototypes lack radar and weapon control systems but a third and fourth aircraft, which will be added to the programme this year, will be fully functional test aircraft.
The PAK FA was presented to the public for the first time on August 17 at MAKS-2011, International Aviation and Space Salon, in Zhukovsky.
The PAK FA is intended to replace the MiG-29 and Su-27 in Russian Air Force service and will also serve as the basis for the Sukhoi/Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project being jointly developed with India.
Russia will buy the first ten aircraft after 2012 and will induct the type into service around 2015, making it the first all-new warplane to enter Russian Air Force service since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Mikhail Pogosyan, director of Sukhoi, estimates a market for a thousand PAK FA aircraft over the next four decades. Two hundred will be produced for India, two hundred for Russia and the rest will be for export. The aircraft was recently entered into South Korea’s competition for a new fighter. “I think after 2015 we will start to see orders,” Pogosyan said.