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.