New fighter jet to bolster Russian air force
The T-50 performs during the MAKS 2011 air show outside Moscow. It is meant to rival the U.S. F-22 Raptor.
August 17th, 2011
11:44 AM ET

New fighter jet to bolster Russian air force

Russia's new stealth fighter jet made its public debut Tuesday, according to state-run news source RIA Novosti.

The Sukhoi T-50, developed collaboratively by Russia and India, appeared at the MAKS 2011 air show in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow.

Gen. Alexander Zelin, head of the Russian air force, told RIA Novosti he expects the T-50 prototype to be ready in 2013, with "mass-produced aircraft" arriving in 2014 or 2015.

The aircraft is expected to become a staple of airborne defense for both Russia and India, Mikhail Pogosyan, head of Russia's United Aircraft Corp., told RIA Novosti.

"The T-50 will be the newest main plane both for the Russian and the Indian air force," Pogosyan said.

The article from the state-run media source says the Sukhoi T-50 cost the two governments about $6 billion to develop, with India shouldering about 35% of the cost. It is intended to match the U.S. F-22 raptor.

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Filed under: Aviation • India • Military • Russia • World
soundoff (1,547 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Is it just me, or does this look like an exact copy of the F/A-22?

    August 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam9999

      Yep. I think Bill C. must have been talking to the Russians too.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • usgiorgi

      Does that surprise you? Look at every "innovation" Russia claims to have made. It's really good at copying ideas from other countries. I.E. AK47 was a copy of the MP44.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • pwrphoto

      Somewhat but there are still important differences (e.g. exhausts). Also there is no information about the engine and electronic systems and material used for its construction all of it is most likely significantly different than the F22 (e.g. because of the size and shape of the engines area it is clear this is not a late generation engine.... they look more than the F14). So I don't think they are as similar as most people here say.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      It looks nothing like the F-22
      1. Tail section is completely different
      2. F-22 weapons bay is Square and forward of the motor mount.
      3. This just has wing scoop over the air intake F-22 does not
      4. Engines are mounted in the classic "vertical" position F-22 are horizontal.
      5. Wing has more deflection,
      6. Wing has more articulation.
      7. rudder has a longer trailing edge.

      But ya, its the same thing.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oodoodanoo

      The idea for stealth technology came from a Soviet paper. They failed to realize what it meant. Our guys did. Good for us, but that "stealing" thing goes both ways...

      August 17, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Robert, to add your statement, that "tail section difference" is probably a rear-aperture radar, something the Russians have been quite fond of in their recent designs (see the MiG-29 and Su-27/37)

      August 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • John in NY

      It looks nothing like the F22 but it does look very similar to the F23 (which I prefered the look of.)

      August 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • andy1218

      all the steath jet will be looks like each other because the principle of steath technology are the same.

      August 17, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • CullThePopulace

      Not the same. This jet flies. The F22 has been grounded b/c it SUCKS. Look it up. $400+mil EACH waste of cash.

      August 17, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sid

      Dude.. All planes more or less look similar.. Its what is inside and what it can is what matters.

      August 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • stevenabb

      For all of you who believe they "stole the F-22" I have some new for you... The laws of aerodynamics and lifting surfaces are somewhat similar over Russia and America. Show me any modern fighter that does not look similar to every other fighter? Did you expect them to display a bi-plane with 5 engines or something...

      August 17, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canuck

      It's just you Mike. Go get your eyes check!

      August 17, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Robero

    Is it me or does it look just like the F-22 Raptor? Oh well we have the F-35 in development so they are still behind us.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Actually, the F-35, compared to the F-22 is a downgrade. The F-22 is the most advanced aircraft ever built. It is actually limited by the pilot. The F-35 is more versatile though, as it is being made in 3 different types (Air Force, Navy, Marines)

      August 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • kire

      15/16/18's airframes are going bad, the 22's are grounded, the 35 is a joke....Nobody is ahead.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leuf

      The F-35 doesn't supercede the F-22. F-22 has the air superiority role like the F-15, F-35 is more like the F-16.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • OUDave75

      I still like the F-22 over the F-35 JSF...That's just me though.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mark

    Cool. Although I thought the cold war was over .... I guess now we are just in a luke warm war with planes and other stuff filling the gaps for outspending each other.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. axel

    Look at the engine exhausts, thats not stealthy at all, a full afterburner. Looks like a nod in the direction of stealth but I doubt this design would fool any current nato heat seeking warhead.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      Agreed. Doesn't look like it is thrust-vectoring capable either. Handling nod goes to F-22.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Genius

      True. They are copying the general style, but they are always a generation behind.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • david

      wow... please tell me you're not serious. stealth technology just gives a plane essentially no radar cross section, meaning it can't be picked up on radar. a HEAT SEEKING missile will seek the infrared heat from the exhaust like it's supposed to regardless of whether or not it's a stealth aircraft. Infrared and radar are two different things.

      August 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. maho

    They just copied F22. Clearly stolen design.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Max Track

      No...look closer, study more resembles the Northrop YF-23.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    @JT...Russia isn't the one known for invading and occupying nations lately. Russia does however sell arms to nations that are about to be invaded. A good example of this would be Venezuela, who has been purchasing 100's of millions of dollars worth of Russian arms lately. The AK arms corporation has even built a facility in Venezuela to avoid their shipments being siezed by US warships. No doubt Hugo Chavez would like to have a few of Russia's latest aircraft as well.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      How quickly the biased forget…

      The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other

      August 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • kire

      More like the Indians swarm america sucking up money to send back home, all the while they buy military gear from russia.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Paul

    We're 20 years ahead of them... I wonder what top secret stuff we've produced in the 20 years since we created what Russia just accomplished. Probably a lot of useless stuff, but some awesome stuff for sure.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pastafazool

      We WERE 20 years ahead of them. Until the Pakistanis showed them the chopper that went down on the bin Laden raid. They will catch up quickly.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Are you sure about that? Our F-22 and F-35 fleets have been grounded for so long with problems that the pilots that fly them will now have to go back to flight school and recertify on the planes. Something like 8 consecutive months they've been grounded with bugs in the planes. Considering the massive cost overruns and the fact that they aren't even deliver a fraction of the planes they said they could produce each year, our air supeiority is really looking pretty sad. Go read up the in-depth articles on wired about this. It's really eye-opening.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • RonPaul


      August 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jazzzzzzz

    another modle of ours that we sold, I'm sure!

    August 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. josh

    We're already deploying automated and remote drones that don't require pilots, use less fuel, carry more weapons and technology.. and are even more stealth due to being even smaller. I know jet pilots are not happy about it, but I'd rather see drones than pilots taken out if it comes down to it. Plus, with ABL and other missile defense systems, rail guns, and laser mounted weapons, they're much easier to take down now.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burt Way

      Yes, BUT they are not designed to do air ti air combat. Once again, Name even one test where an unmanned aitcraft UAV has shot down a manned fighter. They are great at recon and hitting ground targets but not yet designed for air comabt. In the future, maybe.

      August 17, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Attila The hun

    Unfortunately, our unmanned program is light-years ahead of crap like 2020 we won't even use pilots anymore. Death from above will be something akin to a video game.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burt Way

      No, it is not true ithat "unmanned program is light-years ahead" Name even one test where an unmanned aitcraft UAV has shot down a manned fighter. They are great at recon and hitting ground targets but not yet designed for air comabt. In the future, maybe.

      August 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. KUUKAA

    had to have stolen the f22 design with the development cost being only 6 billion

    August 17, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. LouAz

    1. Does India need a F-22 equivalent to "fight" the USAF ?
    2. Why didn't the US sell India F-22s ?
    3. Why didn't the US sell Russia F-22s ?
    4.. Will Russia sell us the oxygen system ?
    5. Can it kill a pickup truck full of "insurgets" ?
    6. Can we rent a few to keep USAF pilots current while the F-22 gets a new oxygen system ?

    August 17, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      India needs an F-22 equivalent to replace it aging Russian MIG fighters...a major weakness exposed in the minor Kargil war with Pakistan and also to counter any Chinese offensive on its Eastern borders. The US and Europe crippled India's defense development by tough sanctions ever since India conducted its nuclear test back in 1974 and recently in 1998. Russia has been the only 'consistent military ally' supporting India since her independence from Britain. It comes as no surprise with India's booming economy it is aiming to replenish its defense systems to counter Pakistan and China. China has been Pakistan's chief military supplier and unwittingly USA is its chief money supplier through aid.

      August 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shark 2

      1. Primary deterrent capability in the region right now is nuclear. (CN,PK,IN). The US has trade embargos when it comes to defense hardware for India – and the American salesman failed to sell about 2bill worth aircraft to India last year, the contract probably went to the Eurofighters. IN didn't want the same fighters that PK already has. CN and IN are currently not the best of friends, never have been since the 60's.
      2. Nobody wants those. They look nice and all, but real world tactical advantages are miniscule in 'hot' regions. IN and PK borders are hot.

      Basically both RU and IN have the same set of concerns – CN. US maneuvers to help PK, CN maneuvers to help PK, so RU maneuvers to help IN. CN and PK have been trying to develop their own 5th gen role stealth capable fighter for the last decade or so under a 'joint' program. That's geopolitics 101 for you.

      BTW the T50 design shares more in common with the Su27s and 30s than raptors. You need to look at a perspective view, not a flat projection.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      correction :actually it was 12 billion and not 2 billion..:)

      August 17, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. erky

    It cost only 6 billion to develop? That is chump change compared to the hundreds of billions the US spends on fighter jet development.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • usgiorgi

      Here is a tip. When developing something "NEW", copy from someone else. That leaves less expenses.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      well if might have saved a lot on paying salaries at indian levels...say 1/5th of us level sal....

      August 17, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Boboo

    Hmmmmm. 20 years too late to the game Russia and India. And you know the avionics are gonna suck cuz they're Russian built...the plane is no good without sophisticated avionics.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sid

      Dude has there been any formal study which makes Russian technology inferior to those of the US. Oh I am sorry it must be right since Mr Boboo says so..

      August 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. stlouisjake

    "stealth-ish" at best. there has been no attempt to mask those honkin' big saturn engines and their red-ball heat signature. good luck with that, comrade 🙂

    August 17, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • pete

      stlouisjake: Best comment in the thread.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • aizen

      dude it is a prototype isnt done, they will be foolish to leave those engin like that...oh and if heat signal is a problem that stealth eliminate, why was a f117 downed in serbia with basic old weapons? the f22 advantage is the super cruise without after burner, but supposed it is engaged in a dog fight, you think missile wont lock?? i doubt that, they are invisible to radars not to missile locks during dog fight, and the radars are mostly land based. oh as for the f35, it is a junk of a plan that even the french rafale destroys...

      August 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guderian255

      I'm certainly no expert, but there seem to be a few knowledgeable guys on this thread, so I'll put my question to one of them;
      – Would a heat-signature cause a plane to be detected by radar? I thought high-tech materials and pioneering aerodynamics caused planes to appear 'stealthy'. Isn't a heat-signature only something that a missile would detect and follow? (I personally don't know and am always willing to learn)

      My own opinion is that while such machines are truly fascinating and impressive in what they can do, we shouldn't forget what these machines are really for – killing other people (or one nation imposing it's will over another) – and in the broader picture I don't think we should get too excited when we see such great technology applied to one of the biggest failings of the Human Species – War against eachother.
      talk of 'defense' is great, but it's not often that the World's bigger powers are defending themselves – they're usually the aggressors, and if India is buying weapons to protect itself against China then, for me, that just goes to show how unwise governments are and we are as a race. Just my 10c worth for the day! 🙂

      August 17, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
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