Russian Air Force Thread

Discussion in 'The Russian Armed Forces' started by Bellum, May 6, 2013.

  1. Bellum

    Bellum Citizen

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    A general thread for news and discussions about the Russian Air Force.


    New batch of Su-34 fighter-bombers was delivered to the VVS today.
    Translation:http://translate.google.com/transla...u=http://www.sukhoi.org/news/company/?id=5141

    Su-34 is of course one of the most important aircrafts that the RuAF is receiving in this decade. Out of all the different newly produced combat aircrafts for Russia in the next 10 years, Su-34 should be the most numerous. I think the order is currently at 124 aircrafts, but it wouldn't be a surprise if there is follow-up orders. Certainly the VVS is receiving quite a few different models, there is at least Su-35S(96 expected through the decade), Su-30SM(60 expected by 2016), MiG-29K(24 for aircraft carrier Kuznetsov) and MiG-35(order for 48 expected to be signed this year). Also the fifth generation fighter T-50 should enter serial production before the end of the decade.

    The deliveries for Su-34(as for all the other jets) have been very slow until recently. The serial production Su-34 deliveries are as follows: 2006=1, 2007=1, 2008=1, 2009=2, 2010=4, 2011=6, 2012=10 and this year 14 new aircrafts are expected. The trend is certainly very positive, but many years were wasted.

    This year is turning out to be quite monumental for the Russian Air Force as many different types of aircrafts are reaching a rather serious level of production. This year there is an order for 12 Su-35S, 14 Su-34, 10 Su-30SM and 15 Yak-130. Also Russian Naval Aviation should get its first MiG-29Ks.
  2. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    39
    I'm guessing its the $600 billion 2011-20 rearmament program and recent modernization of defense enterprises making itself felt?

    Incidentally, what do you think of the PAK FA? As a casual observer, the date of its projected introduction seems to be slipping away year by year. This is all the more concerning as, at least according to Carlo Kopp's analysis, it is inferior in its stealth features to the Chengdu J-XX, which is now on approximately the same timescale.
  3. Bellum

    Bellum Citizen

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Certainly. The rearmament program has brought a clear focus and framework for military spending. The spending itself has risen quite steadily already long before the 2011-2020 program came on the scene, but only now there are obvious results. It is in the last few years that a kind of momentum has been reached when things really started rolling, allowed by the rather strong economic performance. In 2012 Russia increased its military expenditure by 16% in real terms and it reached over 90 billion dollars which is already significantly more than what the 4th(UK), 5th(Japan) and 6th(France) biggest spenders use and even more so when we consider the difference in costs(wages and such) between Russia and the rest. Although probably the worse situation with corruption eats some of that away. It is expected that Russia and China are the only big players who increase their spending this year also, so the spending by Russia is on such a level that it would be already hard to avoid progress.
    http://books.sipri.org/product_info?c_product_id=458#

    I don't think that the original introduction schedule was ever realistic. This kind of huge programs take always more time than people want to admit. And that is true all over the world. The Chinese J-20 program doesn't seem to be progressing any faster than the T-50(PAK FA).

    Kopp is quite noted for his agenda, but he has a lot of useful information. If we take his assessment for stealth as accurate, the T-50 is in quite safe territory. According to Carlo T-50 adheres to Very Low Observable shaping requirements and even if J-20 has advantage in that regard, there are many strong points for the T-50. It almost certainly has (much)better aerodynamic and kinetic performance than the J-20. Chinese have had huge problems even with 4th generation engines and have been relying on old Russian engines. It doesn't seem realistic to think that they can reach Russia's level on engine technology by 2020. Russia is also much more proven on avionics and radars. The first electronically scanned array radar on a fighter plane in the world was Russian Zaslon on MiG-31 and today the most powerful radar on a fighter is Irbis carried by Russian Su-35S. If J-20 has a smaller radar cross section, the more powerful radar on T-50 will compensate just nicely. The Chinese shouldn't be underestimated and certainly it is interesting to see how things develop, but at the moment I'm not worried at all.

    It should also be said that there is a more advanced engine in development for T-50. The current engine is a derivative of Al-31, an engine for the 4th gen, and although it meets most 5th gen requirements(such as supercruise withouth afterburner) its shaping isn't optimal for stealth. The developer of the prospective 5th gen engine gave an interview where he said that indeed the stealth requirement was a main reason for developing new engine. So most definately the stealth qualities of T-50 are going to improve from the current. But it is possible that T-50 comes first into service in the current configuration as the new engine program is quite ambitious and will take same time, then probably after 2018 comes a Stage 2 T-50 which is powered by the new engine and shows more fully realised stealth qualities.
  4. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    55
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Moscow, Russia
    As a by the way, for the past two days there have been practice fly-pasts over Moscow in preparation for the big day tomorrow, May 9. The war planes, after having flown over Red Square, fly on to Paveletsky Station and change course there, passing over my house at Taganka at a very low altitude. We have a grandstand view of the might of the air force from our balcony. However, such a fly past has not taken pace on Victory Day for the past two years: only helicopters have appeared, which caused duma delegate Zhirinovsky and film director Mikhalkov to criticize the government for putting on such a poor show to the rest of the world. The powers that be must have taken note, and so we're all waiting for the grand fly past tomorrow.
  5. Drutten

    Drutten Collegiate Secretary (10th class)

    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    45
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sweden
    Soon it's August and in late August it's MAKS-time!

    According to some reports a newly formed Russian aerobatics team will make their world premiere at the airshow, flying brand new Yak-130's:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The two famous teams the Russian Knights (Su-27/30/35) and the Swifts (MiG-29) will as far as I know stay in the game for the forseeable future but it will sure be interesting to see what these Red Wings are all about and how they'll complement the existing VVS demo teams. It sure sounds like a Russian Red Arrows analogue, both flying trainer/light attack jets and both being, well, red. :p Light planes like these tend to be quite nimble though, so it bodes well for future displays. The Swifts and the Knights both fly actual heavy-ish combat jets and while they're not exactly sluggish by any means they can't be compared to light combat trainers.

    As always at MAKS there may be some surprises and rarely seen participants. Sukhois fifth generation fighter prototype T-50 will probably show up as it did last time, but back in 2011 it was a pretty slow paced and distant display due to all kinds of restrictions, as one would expect at such an early time in its flight testing programme. This time, however, we might get to see some of the impressive maneuvering that the type undoubtedly can pull off. Keep your fingers crossed.

    On the T-50 topic it's also worth noting that the fifth flying prototype (T-50-5/#55) is supposed to take to the skies "before MAKS". Aircraft enthusiasts have kept a close eye on these things for quite some time, since each new machine seems to sport some refinements vis a vis the earlier ones (a gradual transition from the rather crude prototype look to the actual 5th generation fighter its destined to be, so to speak). There is talk about an upcoming milestone in that regard, but rumours has it it's going to be one of the later ones and not T-50-5 per se. But who knows?

    Also, one last thing. Russian military nomenclature can be quite illogical in places, especially when it comes to aircraft where the manufacturers assign all kinds of names to their aircraft that in the end become highly confusing. Just think of the iterations of the Su-35, for example. Or the MiG-29M... Somebody way up, I think Rogozin, has complained about this and expressed a wish to adopt a new classification system that follows a top-down approach from the VVS.

    In other words it sounds quite like the current US system, where F- indicates a fighter, B- a bomber and so on (though there are a few confusing exceptions in the US case). This kind of purpose-based designation system was actually used in Russia (well, the USSR) prior to World War II, before it gave way for the Cold War-present "bureau-centered" system (if you can even call it a system, it's ridiculously arbitrary at times).

    I myself do not have a solid opinion on the matter, but somebody else might?
    Law Prof. and Kolokol like this.
  6. Drutten

    Drutten Collegiate Secretary (10th class)

    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    45
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sweden
    This is just going to be a shameless photo-post. Hopefully these military-related threads here will recieve more attention in time, with more actual discussion to boot. :) After all, it's a pretty important area as far as everything "Russia" goes and it's near omnipresent in Russia-related matters in foreign media and in the produce by countless professional and non-professional thinkers.

    Anyway, here goes. Fresh-ish photos of the PAK-FA programme, of various airframes involved (in various "states of development", see my earlier post for details surrounding this issue):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    OK. My plans of having this become a shameless photo post = down the drain. So here we go:

    So far we've got four flying PAK-FA protoypes (#51, 52, 53, 54 or T-50-1, -2, -3 etc) and one non-flying testbed (50, or KNS, Комплексный Натурный Стенд or something along those lines).

    What follows is naturally the T-50-5, slated for take-off before the end of August. According to various sources (including "insiders") this is the penultimate flying prototype. It will be followed by a flying T-50-6 in 2014 and then by the 50-7 later that year. Now this is where things get interesting... The 50-7 is supposed to be a "2nd KNS" so to speak, a non-flying machine for ground-based testing of the serial machine specs.

    T-50-8 through -9 follow in 2014/15, as flying near-serial machines, also testing out some of the things meant chiefly for the Indians (facilitating the development and future production of the Russo-Indian spin-off product Sukhoi/HAL FGFA) and the T-50-10 is slated to be the first LRIP (low-rate initial production) machine. So 2014-15 folks, that's when some real stuff will be happening.

    Now, people have long been racking down on the extant PAK-FA prototypes for their rather crude looks and so on vis-a-vis Western stealth aircraft. These objections are in fact somewhat understandable as they do appear rather unrefined at a first glance but these jump-the-gun assessments are seriously flawed (as most have realised by now). Why? Well...

    First of all, Russian (and especially Sukhois in this case) prototyping schemes differ wildly from those (generally) in the West. They try out things in a highly unlinear way and it's often very difficult to keep track of any progress made. A rather recent and by all means most striking example of this is the Sukhoi T-10 which eventually became the Su-27 series (and the current 4½ generation fighter Su-35S that is entering VVS service as we speak). TheT-10 went through nothing short of drastic changes during its numerous prototype stages and went from being a bunch of rather crude and unimpressive initial prototypes to wind up as one of the worlds most competent fighter designs ever conceived...

    But now we're talking about 5th generation machines and a major part of that can be summed up with the word "stealth". Oh, that 21st century military buzzword, mmmm... So what about it? Well...

    Sukhoi and UACs chief engineers (incl. Mikhail Pogosyan) have repeatedly shown that they do know what "stealth" is all about, and add to that the fact that Russia actually does operate many advanced RCS facilities for evaluating the footprint of combat aircraft in the EM spectrums. In short, they know what they're doing and we've seen that they do, albeit subtly, as it clearly reflects on the gradual refinements of the PAK-FA's so far. The stealth stuff also appear in modern Russian ships, missiles, helicopters et cetera, so they are definitely not clueless.

    It is also worth nothing that "anti-stealth" technology is being actively pursued in Russia as it is abroad. But one has to keep in mind what "stealth" actually means, it's not a magic pill that turns you invisible and that a pair of magic high tech glasses render meaningless. Not at all. It's first and foremost about lowering your footprint in the EM spectrum, be it infrared from say engines and fuselage heating to microwave band radar return. In effect, stealth technology makes you a smaller target and that's all there is to it - really. And consequently that's what "stealth defeating"-technology is combatting, presenting various methods to detect smaller targets at longer ranges (so there is a size and range issue there). A modern 5th generation stealth fighter presents a radar target the size of a golf ball or even smaller, that is tiny and it lowers the detectio range quite significantly too. But with a radar good enough, sure... Just make sure you can distinguish it from a swallow, because that $4 million missile doesn't come with a warranty.

    Another anti-stealth measure is "gap" detection, since at certain wavelengths you do get return from weather and so on and if a stealth aircraft is stealthy enough it will pretty much show up as a void in the return image. This is much easier when you paint from above though, which obviously means a plethora of other issues. Yet another thing is that stealth is usually optimised for tracking radars operating at short wavelengths (stealth is especially designed to be a pain in the a** for fighter radars and their radar missiles, naturally), but they can be tracked with reasonable accuracy using longer wavelengths (such as big EW radars) . The longer wavelengths do suffer regarding accuracy though, but if you have several units available at reasonable distances apart you can triangulate a stealthy target with high precision, possibly high enough to allow for SAMs to hit it (if I recall correctly there is an Ukrainian or Czech "anti stealth"-system that utilizes this method).

    Hmmm... Long post. Well, we are looking forward to the T-50-10. Yes. :D
    Kolokol likes this.
  7. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    48
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ottawa
    A question. Generally speaking Russia has returned to the pre-1917 symbology but I notice that the aircraft have red stars. In WWI Russian aircraft had a roundel for national marking I think.
    Why the stars today?
  8. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    22
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Victoria, British Columbia
    I don't see anything particularly unsophisticated or unfinished-looking about the PAK-FA; it is a beautiful design from every angle. Its least stealthy-profile is from directly astern, which to my mind is not a big deal because by the time you are looking at the back of it in a combat situation, you are going to have a lot of other problems to deal with unless it is out of ordnance and running for home. The time you want to be able to see it is when it is pointed at you, and it is from that angle it enjoys its best low-signature reflectivity.

    It's astonishing how many people expect stealth technology to make you invisible, and fortunate that few of them are pilots or above-water-warfare specialists. You are correct that all it does is reduce your signature and bring the detection range in to where the plane stands a good chance of steadying up on an attack run before it is detected. A better radar is one way to foil stealth technology - another is power. With enough raw transmitter power, stealth is overcome, but the more power a radar blasts out the farther away it is detectable itself, and the bigger magnet it is for an anti-radar missile.

    Russia's production technique may be a little bit unorthodox, but circumstances have dictated a lot of unorthodox approaches in the last decade in a lot of countries, and it is certainly head and shoulders above the crackpot production plan for the F-35, which is in series production and foreign sales while it still has not finished its testing process. This has resulted in huge cost overruns as mistakes have had to be corrected on existing airframes by retrofit.
  9. Drutten

    Drutten Collegiate Secretary (10th class)

    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    45
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sweden
    Probably because it's become such a Russian thing. They did change it though - the current VVS star roundel has the Russian tricolor in it, like a mix of sorts of the Imperial roundel and the later stars:

    [​IMG]

    This unlike the Soviet-era stars that were red with a white and red outline (the Belarusian AF still uses those), or just plain red (WW2).

    Soon-ish I suspect we'll also get to see a "low-viz" variety of it, perhaps something akin to the greyscale roundels commonly seen in Western air forces. It's popular these days, especially on stealth aircraft and the PAK-FA prototypes already carry a minimalistic star in the low-viz vein (thin red outline only).

    That is not an official VVS thing though, only "artistic freedom" on Sukhois part. The same goes for the overall paint scheme of the PAK-FA, which reflects earlier Sukhoi prototypes such as:

    Su-35BM (tech demo):
    [​IMG]

    The resultant Sukhoi Su-35S (Serial) in actual VVS colors (first batches):
    [​IMG]

    Su-35S in VVS service, later batches:
    [​IMG]

    So what we'll see in actual service is anybodys guess.
  10. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    55
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Moscow, Russia

    Well what about this for a contradiction in symbolism?


    [​IMG]

    Soviet Star and Imperial Eagle on the same cap!

    The double headed eagle with orb and sceptre has been back on officers' caps for several years now, but the Red Army star still remains.

    I guess they just got used to it.
  11. Nikita

    Nikita Office Registrar (13th class)

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Rotterdam, Netherlands
    Does anyone have any information about the new engines for the PAK-FA, the AL-41F (I heard someone use this designation before), especially in terms of their shaping and what RCS reduction measures that are being taken on the engines?

    And yeah, it's disappointing to see that the first iteration will come with the AL-31 engines. Oh well. Hopefully they can be replaced relatively easily.

    And Bellum, I would not quote Carlo Kopp too often. He's a fear monger, and he is trying to deter the Australian Air Force from buying the F-35, so he will say anything in favor of the J-20 or PAK FA, especially relative to the F-35 (he is nicer towards the F-22). But I think you are right. The PAK FA is exceptionally well designed using the same 'evolutionary' paradigm of the USSR. Using LEVCONs instead of canards for example, is just an amazing idea. As is putting L-band radars in the leading edges. I definitely think it is capable of defeating any Western aircraft for many years to come!

    Also does anyone know what type of radar the PAK FA will use? Will it be a hybrid like the Irbis-E?
  12. Drutten

    Drutten Collegiate Secretary (10th class)

    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    45
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sweden
    There are a lot of conflicting reports on this but what can be said for certain is that the T-50 prototypes are powered by the Saturn 117 (otherwise known as AL-41F1), with a much refined version known only as type 30 supposed to be used on later prototypes and/or early serial machines. The later serial machines are destined for a brand new engine which is under development and is currently known as the izd. 129 (or the "second stage" engine of the PAK-FA programme, as opposed to the first stage 117/AL-41F1).

    The Saturn 117S (AL-41F1A) is used in the serial Su-35S and is in many ways vastly different from PAK-FAs 117 (I know, it's confusing).

    Anyway, it is known that Saturn 129 is of a rather different design than the AL-31/41 family with higher turbine temperatures and a different stage layout, that it is plasma-fired, that it will sport radar-absorbent non-metallic nanotech blades for some sections (see ATO article), that the thrust is very impressive (in the 180kN wet and >100kN dry ballpark), that it allows for high (>1.6M) supercruise, that the inlet is a marvel of engineered destructive interference and that the thrust vectoring nozzles will most likely remain round, albeit given stealth-treatment (despite the fact that Saturn has indeed patented several F-22-esque flat nozzle solutions, but who knows).


    Obviously nearly all juicy specifications are and will remain classified for the foreseeable future so what's known is only what has been uttered in vague terms by the people working on this (like Pogosyan) and what can be reasonably inferred from other sources.

    Little is known, only that it's called the N036 and sports a large active electronically scanned array (>1500 elements). It is also known that it's part of a large radar suite which includes at least three other multifunctional antennas apart from the one in the nose. Some of this stuff is already fitted in the later prototypes (T-50-3 and onward) and if we are to believe the guys over at Zhukovsky the stuff is performing well and meets or exceeds the requiremetnts.
  13. Reggie Kabaeva

    Reggie Kabaeva Office Registrar (13th class)

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    .......And we're told in the western media that Russia only fly's and floats in "rust buckets." The notion that the Russians could even POSSIBLY build a better fighter, radar or ballistic missile than the US is met with derision & laughter. My contention is that this sneering and degrading of the opponents capabilities are one the reasons why the US is now incapable of winning wars or accomplishing any geo-political objectives.
  14. Drutten

    Drutten Collegiate Secretary (10th class)

    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    45
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sweden
    For you Russian speakers, here's a rather patriotic but refreshingly exhaustive Wings of Russia two-part documentary about the PAK-FA and everything that led up to it:


    That's how it aired on Zvezda and as for now, even if you don't speak Russian it's worth a watch simply due to the sheer amount of previously unseen material, including in-flight refueling trials, gun firing trials and ejection seat trials. WoR does include translations on their DVDs so I'm sure it'll become fully available to a wider audience soon.

    And we'll round this off with a close-up of the T-50-2:
    [​IMG]
  15. Drutten

    Drutten Collegiate Secretary (10th class)

    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    45
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sweden
    And just to keep the thread somewhat active, here's a rare Sukhoi T-50 troika:[​IMG]

    Su-30 and T-50:
    [​IMG]

    There was some talk about the T-50/PAK-FA programme and its radars before, well, here's the side-looking AESA radar unit mounted in pairs in the forward fuselage of the aircraft:
    [​IMG]
  16. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Yes, that was really cool. But my favourite picture is this one:
    http://russianplanes.net/id117452
    Pity that T-50-3 didn't fly, otherwise we would have the 4 flying prototypes together!
    Does anyone have any information about T-50-5? I had read some months ago that it would fly around mid year, but so far nothing.
  17. Drutten

    Drutten Collegiate Secretary (10th class)

    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    45
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sweden
    The fifth T-50 finally flew a little while ago.

    [​IMG]

    It appears that KnAAZ (formerly KnAAPO) has gotten a new chase plane for these events, they used to fly a Su-17/22 but as seen above, it is now a Su-30 with a fairly distinct paintjob at that:
    [​IMG]
    AKarlin likes this.
  18. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    The 5th T-50 prototype has been painted with a new scheme. I particularly like it. T-50-5.jpg T-50-5_.jpg
    Kolokol likes this.
  19. Drutten

    Drutten Collegiate Secretary (10th class)

    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    45
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sweden
    Quite impressive what Upper Volta with snow can produce, eh?

    The new take on the camouflage looks good if you ask me. This is the last machine of the initial prototypes... It will be interesting to see what comes next. According to some people the "T-50-6" will actually be two separate airframes, 6-1 being a static test machine (like the T-50-0 and the KNS) and 6-2 a flying one. As noted earlier in this thread, these ones will sport a lot of changes vis a vis the first batch that has now been concluded.
  20. José Moreira

    José Moreira High Commissar Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    I'm don't quite get the thinking behind this camouflage. An observer from the ground watching the plane turning, or from above, could mis-identify this plane (seeing only the dark shape) but there is no other (non-fictional) plane with that shape.

    The americans got this right. Just paint it black. :)

Share This Page