MOSCOW – Vladimir Putin has announced that he expects Russia to have 76 Su-57 5th generation fighters by 2028. But why precisely this number? Military expert Viktor Murakhovsky explains the reason for these plans.
Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes that a contract will soon be approved for the delivery of 76 new Su-57 fighters to the Russian Armed Forces. “I hope that the corrected plans will be fulfilled and that a contract will soon be concluded for the delivery of 76 fighters equipped with modern weapons,” Putin said at a May 15 military-themed meeting.
“The 2028 arms program stipulated the purchase of 16 such jets,” Putin said during a defense meeting, according to TASS news agency. “We have agreed to purchase 76 such fighters without the increase in prices in the same period of time.”
During the same meeting, Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu noted that the per-unit cost per aircraft and associated equipment went down by 20 percent.
According to the Russian president, no contract for the 76 Su-57 fighter jets has been signed.
“In the nearest future we will sign a package contract to supply 76 such jets equipped with modern weapons of destruction and provided with the necessary land infrastructure,” the president said.
According to Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of the Russian magazine Arsenal Otechestva (Arsenal da Pátria), 76 fighters are, in the Russian Aerospace Force, the approximate number of airplanes that make up three regiments, reason why it can be assumed that there will be a total division formed by these aircraft. In addition, the expert stresses that this figure is appropriate both in relation to the capabilities of Russia’s military budget and the possibilities of the Russian aircraft industry.
“This number was also chosen not to ‘overload’ Russia’s military budget because the cost of a 5th generation fighter is considerably higher compared to fighters of previous generations,” Murakhovsky said.
Today it can be said that the construction of this airplane is completely finished, since a modernized model of the Soviet engine AL-41 is used. The final version of the Su-57 should be equipped with a new advanced engine, known as Izdelie 30 (Article 30), which will give a great boost to the already impressive performance of the aircraft.
According to Murakhovsky, the fighter jets manufactured and delivered to the Russian Aerospace Force by 2023 will be in the first phase, ie equipped with the AL-41 engine, and the later ones will be the definitive ones.
“Manufacturers say the new engine will be ready by 2023. So from this date, the Su-57 will have a new engine and will become a 5th generation platform in the fullest sense of the word,” he said. However, it is very likely that the first Su-57 will be retrofitted with the new engines after delivery of the first batch of 76 aircraft by 2028, the expert concluded.