Sunday, March 6, 2011

Russia tests 2nd prototype of fifth-generation stealth fighter

A second prototype of the Russian fifth-generation T-50 fighter successfully conducted its maiden flight on Thursday, the Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer said.

The T-50 fighter is being developed by the Sukhoi design bureau and built at a plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, in Russia's Far East. The first prototype made its maiden flight in January 2010 and has so far conducted over 40 tests.

"The second prototype of the fifth-generation fighter conducted today its first flight. The aircraft spent 44 minutes in the air.It was a successful flight which met all set parameters," Sukhoi said in a statement.

Russia has been developing its own fifth-generation fighter since the 1990s. It is designed to compete with the U.S. F-22 Raptor, so far the world's only fifth-generation fighter, and the F-35 Lightning II.

Although T-50 specifications remain classified, fragmentary data indicates that the design incorporates the latest developments in a military fighter, including advanced stealth capability, supersonic cruising speed, and highly integrated control systems.

Russian officials have already hailed the fighter as "a unique warplane" that combines the capabilities of an air superiority fighter and attack aircraft.

The Russian Air Force plans to acquire over 60 T-50s after 2015.

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