Russia, China Push Fifth-Generation Fighter Programmes To Meet Year-End Milestones

  A second prototype of the Sukhoi T-50 (PAK-FA) fifth-generation fighter aircraft will make its first flight by the end of this year, according to Russian defence industry spokespersons.

As with the first prototype, this aircraft will be flown initially from the Dzemgi aerodrome adjacent to the Komsomolsk-na-Amure Aviation Production Association. After initial-acceptance test flights, it will be transferred to the Gromov Flight Research Institute in Zhukovsky. 



Sukhoi's general director, Mikhail Pogosian, stated that a T-50 will also be flown in a display at the MAKS International Aviation and Space Salon in August 2011.

A source close to the programme told Jane's that "the end-of-the-year deadline may not be met, but the aircraft will fly very soon - either before the end of 2010 or just after the [beginning of the] new year". Russian aircraft programmes - even in Soviet times - have often had year-end deadlines for first flights that came down to near photo finishes. 



Meanwhile, rumours have emerged from China's Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC) and the adjoining Aircraft Plant 132 that a Chinese-developed fifth-generation fighter prototype may also fly by the end of the year. Reportedly, two airframes - numbered 2001 and 2002 - have been assembled at the plant.

According to Russian industry sources, the programme - sometimes referred to as 'J-20' - is a joint design effort between CAC and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, with Chengdu taking the lead on the development. 
 

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