“NATO Will Be Astonished”: What Russia’s New Fighter Jet Will Be Armed With

The destruction of targets at a distance of several hundred kilometers, jeweller’s accuracy of bomb strikes, and reliably protected equipment — together with the latest bombs and missiles, the fifth-generation Su-57 aviation complex will receive advanced electronics for their guidance. The aircraft will be able to avoid enemy traps and break through the wall of radar interference. The material of RIA Novosti goes into the armaments of the promising jet.

“Smart” missiles

The fifth-generation Su-57 fighter jet is not just an aircraft, but a whole combat complex that includes the latest aviation weapons. The list of weapons is classified, but it is known that the enterprises of the military-industrial complex are developing about 15 samples.

According to experts, the Su-57’s arsenal will be based on the existing Russian air force strike jets, but completely redesigned and”digitised”. For example, new anti-ship missiles with twice the range of flight – up to 250 kilometres. It is noteworthy that the ammunition looks the same as its predecessors.

The changes mainly affected the internal filling — the missile now has more powerful and compact “brains”, the control system and engine provide a complex flight path. The electronic equipment hidden in the casing is resistant to external radio-electronic interference, various traps, and does not respond to false targets.

“Previously, the targeting of air — to — air or air-to-ground missiles was transmitted via analog converters, which took a certain time,” explains military expert Aleksey Leonkov to RIA Novosti. “At that time, it met the requirements of combined arms and air combat. Now the situation is different. There are many electronic warfare systems operating in the modern aerial combat zone: both ground and air. In such circumstances, the weapon must be very reliable. The Su-57 was created with these factors in mind, its systems are completely digital — the transfer of the flight task, target designation, and target reallocation takes only a fraction of a second.
Like other multi-role fighters, the Su-57 will be able to carry short-, medium-, and long-range air-to-air and air-to-surface ammunition, as well as guided and corrected aerial bombs.”

So, it is for the perspective “desiccation” that the “smart” KAB-250 aerial bomb was developed. After being dropped from the carrier, its flight path is corrected by signals from the GLONASS satellite system. Now the ammunition is being tested at testing sites and it’s even been managed to check it in combat conditions — Su-34 bombers dropped KAB-250 on militant targets in Syria.

The bomb showed high efficiency and, most importantly, accuracy: the deviation from the target is only plus or minus two meters, regardless of weather conditions and time of day. The power of the warhead allows the pilot to hit not only equipment and clusters of manpower in open space, but also well-fortified enemy objects.

In addition, as was previously reported by the Defence Ministry, the Su-57 fighter jet will also take on board hypersonic weapons. It is expected that the new aviation complex “Kinzhal” “57” will be received after 2030.

Accurate up to a meter

Honoured military pilot of Russia Vladimir Popov is confident that the range of weapons for the Su-57 will remain traditional for this class of aircraft, but thanks to improved targeting systems, the accuracy will significantly increase.

Thus, missiles for short-and medium-range combat will automatically track targets by thermal and magnetic traces and be guided by an optoelectronic head.

“Accuracy characteristics will increase by 30-40%,” said Popov. “This is a very good indicator of combat capabilities for detection and homing. Modern missiles strike with an accuracy of up to a meter. The same applies to long-range ammunition. However, radar and the thermal component play an important role here.”

Miniaturisation of the electronic equipment of modern missiles allows to strengthen the warhead of ammunition by increasing the charge. The probability of hitting the target and, as a result, the overall effectiveness of the weapon increases significantly. The Su-57 will be able to fight any objects in the air and on the ground — dynamic and ballistic targets, as well as small-sized ones, such as drones.

Control in combat of all systems of a promising aircraft, the use of weapons, defence organisation, and multi-mode intelligent support for the pilot are tied to a powerful computer system. The computer automatically recognises and determines the most dangerous and priority targets, builds the optimal flight route, and tells the pilot what weapons to use and when.

In order to search for and detect targets, the Su-57 has several new-generation radars. In addition to the radar with an active phased array antenna in the front of the aircraft, there are side-view stations operating in different ranges. The Su-57 can easily find any aircraft in the sky hundreds of kilometres away, including those built using stealth technology.

Full load

The peculiarity of the fifth-generation fighter jets is the internal fuselage placement of weapons. Due to the fact that there are no bombs and missiles on the external suspension points, the effective dispersion surface and, consequently, the visibility of the aircraft are reduced. Several dozen different ammunition will fit into the two spacious compartments of the Su-57.

Previously, this was only the case with massive strategic bombers, so weapons developers had to solve a difficult task: to design missiles with smaller dimensions, and equip them with folding wings and rudders that open only after the ammunition is dropped. Difficulties arose due to additional loads on the aircraft when launching missiles from a confined space.

The ratio of the combat load that the Su-57 is able to take to its mass is much higher than that of previous generations of fighters. This was achieved by using composite materials.

“In the Su-30SM and Su-35, for example, up to 25% of the materials are not metals,” Popov says. “Composites, fibreglass, kevlar fabrics, various resins. At the same time, the strength characteristics of the structure are preserved. On the Su-57, there are about 35% of them. This is a lot, so the fighter jet turned out to be much lighter with similar dimensions. In addition, the new engine gives an increase in traction power by another 15%.”

The brand “feature” of the new aircraft is the ability to work in conjunction with the S-70 “Okhotnik” unmanned system. A heavy drone and a fighter jet have learned to fly in conjunction — last year, the Defence Ministry published a video of them manoeuvring in the air at a minimum distance from each other.

According to experts, in the future it will be possible to create entire packs of “Okhotnik” operating in autonomous mode or under the control and guidance of just one Su-57 pilot. The strike potential of such combat groups will increase significantly.

Nikolay Protopopov

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