A few days ago it became known that the domestic military-industrial complex intends to turn the fifth-generation fighter Su-57 into the Super Sukhoi, having carried out its deep modernization. It seems to sound great, only this approach raises logical questions for a number of experts.
The modernization of the aircraft itself, which can make it better, is only welcome. First of all, its power plant is subject to replacement. Instead of the AL-41F1 engine, the so-called “product 30” will be installed. If the "old" gave traction of 9500 kgf, and the afterburner - 15000 kgf, then the "thirtieth" will provide a 20% gain: respectively - 11000 kgf and 18000 kgf. The design of the new power plant will reduce the visibility of the fighter in the infrared range, and its speed will increase from 1,1-1,2 M to 1,5 M in afterburner mode.
The control drive system will be radically improved, where the hydraulic mechanisms are planned to be replaced by electric ones. This will make it more reliable to control at high speeds and reduce the radar visibility and weight of the aircraft. The Su-57 chassis will also become electric. Also, the fighter control system will undergo modernization: a panoramic aviation indicator, multi-function screens and a wide-angle collimator sight will appear. An appropriate arms control system will be developed for new generation missiles.
All this is wonderful and will make the Su-57 even more deadly. So why grumble some “unconscious personalities”?
The main complaint is that the aircraft began to undergo profound modernization, without even having time to take it into service. If you look at the experience of our direct competitors, then in the USA new models of weapons are accepted as “blocks”. The Pentagon receives from the manufacturer a relatively small, but, nevertheless, a large series and begins to drive it "in the tail and mane." At the same time, all “childhood diseases” are revealed, information about which is sent to the contractor. Subsequent modernization is already taking into account them. For example, you can take the famous F-16 fighter-bomber with its Block 5, Block 15, Block 40/42, Block 60 and so on.
Now around the world, the fifth-generation American fighter F-35 is criticized for a huge number of imperfections, but their number is constantly decreasing just in the course of such consistent work. As a result, the United States and its allies will have a run-in combat aircraft produced by a large party, in which all shortcomings are eliminated.
If you look at the Su-57 from this angle, then, indeed, questions arise. Why not put in the Russian Air Force the first small batch of 15-20 aircraft, so as to properly drive them in business, and taking into account the experience gained not to make additions to the design? Then put another 15-20 upgraded, etc.? Involuntarily, one has to wonder how real the advanced fighter is, if its first production model crashed during tests in December last year, right before being sent to the troops.
Of course, if the problem is in its "dampness", then an expensive aircraft must be seriously modified. If the matter is in the search for unattainable perfection, then this approach causes quite justified doubts, since it actually turns the project into a long-term construction.