Russia’s New Generation Fighter is Coming
to Replace Su-57. Like the United States Air Force and the Navy,
the Russians are looking at a wide range of concepts including manned-unmanned teaming,
directed energy weapons and hypersonics. The Russians are also looking at novel radar and
electro-optical sensor technologies that seem designed to counter stealth.
One system under development for the potential new plane is a so-called radio-photonic radar
capable fighter that would eventually replace the Sukhoi Su-57.
“The radio-photonic radar will be able to see farther than existing radars, in our estimates.
And, as we irradiate an enemy in an unprecedentedly wide range of frequencies, we’ll know its
position with the highest accuracy and after processing we’ll get an almost photographic
image of it – radio vision,” said Vladimir Mikheyev an advisor to the first deputy CEO
of the Radio-Electronic Technologies Group in an interview with the state-owned TASS
news agency. “This is important for determining the type
[of an aircraft]: the plane’s computer will immediately and automatically identify a flying
object, for example, an F-18 with specific types of missile armament.”
According to Mikheyev, the new “radio-photonic radar” will operate over a much wider band
than conventional radars and should be far more resistant to enemy jamming. Further,
the new system is expected to be utilized as an electronic warfare system, datalink
and as a communications system. Prototypes of the new radar have already been
built. “Both the emitter and the receiver have been
built on the basis of the experimental prototype as part of the R&D work. All this works and
performs the location – we emit an ultra-high frequency signal, it is reflected back and
we receive and process it and get the radar picture of an object. We see what we need
to do to make it optimal,” Mikheyev said. “Now a full-fledged mockup of this radio-optical
photonic antenna array is being developed as part of the research and development work,
which will allow us to test the characteristics of the serial prototype…We will be able
to understand what it [the radar] should be, in what geometrical sizes and what its ranges
and power should be.” In addition to its new radar, the Russians
expect to field a new electro-optical sensor. “A powerful multi-spectral optical system
operating in various ranges – the laser, infrared, ultraviolet and, actually, in the optical
band, which, however, considerably exceeds the spectrum visible to humans,” Mikheyev
said. The aircraft will also be equipped with directed
energy weapons—and fly as part of a swarm of drones. Indeed, while two aircraft in a
flight might be manned, there might be 20 to 30 unmanned aircraft accompanying those
jets. “One drone in a formation flight will carry
microwave weapons, including guided electronic munitions while another drone will carry radio-electronic
suppression and destruction means and a third UAV will be armed with a set of standard weaponry,”
“Each specific task is solved by different armaments.”
Mikheyev also described a self-defense laser weapon for the future aircraft.
“We already have laser protection systems installed on aircraft and helicopters and
now we are talking about developments in the field of powered lasers that will be able
to physically destroy attacking missiles’ homing heads,”
“Roughly speaking, we’ll be able to burn out ‘the eyes’ of missiles that ‘look
at us.’ Naturally, such systems will be installed on sixth-generation aircraft as
well.” Michael Kofman, a research scientist specializing
in Russian military affairs at the Center for Naval Analyses, said that while the Kremlin
might not have the money to fund such a project, it is important to note that the Russian defense
industry is keeping abreast of developments in the tactical aviation field.
“I think the important takeaway is that Russia defense industry recognizes some of
the key trends in military science and weapons technology,” Kofman added.
“It’s unclear how much funding will truly be available in the coming state armament
program for 2020-2025 to support these numerous projects.
Russian next-generation fighter will become a reality, but it is noteworthy that Russia’s
industrial base is exploring the possibilities…? Thank You, For Watching. Please Like, Share,
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