Russia developing Improved engines, weapons and bombs for the T-50 PAK-FA for F-22 competitive performance

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The PAK-FA—which is under development—is currently powered by a pair of 33,000-pound thrust class Saturn AL-41F1 afterburning turbofans. However, the AL-41F1—a version of which is also installed on the Sukhoi Su-35S Flanker-E—is not powerful enough to meet the requirements for the PAK-FA. Ultimately, the AL-41F is a highly modified derivative of the original Sukhoi Su-27’s AL-31F powerplant.

While the new engine—often referred to as the izdeliye 30—is being designed by the Lyul’ka design bureau under the leadership of general designer-director Eugene Marchukova, it is being tested at the Lytkarinsky Machine-Building Plant. It’s only with the addition of the second stage engine that the PAK-FA will meet the requirements of both the Russian and Indian air forces.

The designers expect to start testing the new engine on fighter jets in 2018, and for the motor to be fully integrated in 2020.

“In addition to the engine, a radar station also needs to be modified, and engineers need to remove the last deficiencies in the airframe concept, which, among all the aircraft flying today, is the most modern in the world,” said the analyst.

The powerplant is expected to deliver 24,054lbs dry thrust and 39,566lbs of afterburning thrust. With the new engine installed, the PAK-FA should be able to offer kinematic performance comparable to the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor—cruising without afterburner at speeds exceeding Mach 1.5 with a maximum speed greater than Mach 2.0 at altitudes of around 60,000ft

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New PAKFA fighter weapons – 30-mm cannon

The firing unit consists of one of the lightest cannon in its class, the 9-A1-4071K, which is designed to destroy armored vehicles or armored enemy targets. During one flight, the pilot can shoot 150 rounds from the 30-mm cannon.

This new weapon is a modified single-barrel GSh-301 aircraft cannon, used in Russian fighters and bombers.

Aircraft bombs

The future T-50 5th generation fighter will also carry high-explosive and volume-detonating bombs, Sergey Rusakov, General Director of the Techmash Group, announced on September 22.

Rusakov said they are now considering high-explosive incendiary OFZAB-500 aviation bombs for the PAK FA, and volume-detonating ODAB-500PMV, which are currently being used in Russian operations in Syria. Engineers have already produced a set of warheads for future tests.

“The T-50 will go into serial production much later than the Raptor. This allows us to take into consideration all the pros and cons of the existing aircraft when constructing our own fighter. A similar situation existed when we were working on the multi-purpose 4 th generation Su-27 fighter. The prototype of that domestic aircraft came out much later than the American F-16, and took into account the shortcomings of its precursor. As a result, the domestic Sukhoi was able to beat the ‘American,’ in terms of combat characteristics,” Vadim Kozyulin, Professor at the Academy of Military Sciences, told RBTH.

The expert noted that the T-50 would be able to use the full range of existing high-precision air-to-air missiles, as well as all precision-guided munitions.

“As part of the ‘stealth’ concept, special missiles for the PAK FA are being developed, with a square cross section that will allow more warheads to be carried in hatches during combat missions,” Kozyulin added.