Monday, June 22, 2015

PAK FA: Additional Points to Be Discussed

Lajos F. Szászdi


* This list of issues was originally finished and saved on July 21, 2010, in Falls Church, Virginia.

Points that have appeared since my first paper on the Russian stealth fighter was written and which could merit to be added briefly to the final PAK FA paper:

1)                Mention the conformal L-Band radars in the wings’ leading edge. This L-Band frequency is associated with a stealth plane detection capability. (I will add 4 sources).

2)                  Russia plans a squadron of 15-20 PAK FA in their aircraft carrier after its modernization.

3)                  The Director of Sukhoi said the main quality of the PAK FA is to approach the enemy undetected. In the hands of an export customer of the plane, the PAK FA could be used to conduct a sneak attack against us or our allies.

4)                  Sukhoi’s Director estimated that there would be a world market for 1,000 PAK FA in the next 40 years. Possible main breakdown of those numbers: 250 for Russia, 250 for India, and perhaps 250 for China?

5)                  According to Prime Minister Putin, the PAK FA will be superior to the F-22 in maneuverability, armament and range, and it would cost 3 times less. He said also the life span of the aircraft with improvements would be of 30-35 years.

6)                  PAK FA’s AESA radars in the front and the rear for 120º radar coverage in the front and rear hemispheres.

7)                  Russia plans to produce 60 fighters from 2016 on. It seems that these 60 planes may be produced as part of a Russian arms procurement program spanning from 2011 to 2020. If so, from 2016 to 2020 production of the aircraft may be of 12 fighters a year in an initial production run of five years.

8)                  Update: Russia’s current hard currency and gold reserves have grown to $467 billion.

9)                  Work on the second generation (the one presumably with Supercruise capability) engine for the PAK FA will begin in 2010-2011.

10)              Correction: The PAK FA will have 6 external hardpoints for weapons, in addition to the 10 internal ones.

11)              Correction: China by 2025 would not have as many PAK FA like the 187 F-22, but it could have over 60 PAK FA by 2025. The production rate of the advanced Su-30MKK (the version of the Su-30MK for China) in Komsomolsk-on-Amur’s Sukhoi factory reached the level of 24 completed machines a year. If Russia would export the PAK FA to China, from 2023 to 2025 China could receive 72 Russian stealth fighters. If production for Chinese PAK FAs begin in 2021 and continues up to 2025, China could have 120 Russian stealth fighters by the end of 2025. A navalized PAK FA could also be offered to China for the former Varyag aircraft carrier. 

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