And a new powerplant. The 9th prototype will finally be fitted with the new Izdeliye-30 engine
After the Su-35 comes the Su-57. Russia hopes to start building its first brand new, post-Soviet fighter in 2019 and build up to 160 for itself. Until now it was anyone's guess how the jet, provisionally deemed the T-50, or PAK-FA, will be called once in service. No longer. It has now been christened the Sukhoi Su-57:
The prototype of the Russian-made fighter jet known as the PAK FA (T-50) has now been coined the Su-57, after its new fuselage passed all tests. The advanced aircraft still needs to undergo both weapons and engine testing before final production can begin.
Moreover the 9th prototype, to be completed this year, will be the first to be finally fitted with the new Izdeliye-30 engine:
The ninth prototype of the T-50 has been equipped with the Izdeliye-30, fifth-generation engine, which will be tested at the end of the year.
Compared to the Izdeliye-117, the engine is a new development and has already been installed in the latest Su-57. The Izdeliye-117 is a modernized version of the AI-31 engine - the “heart” of the original Su-27.
It is precisely the difficulties and delays in the development of the new engine which stalled the introduction of the new jet (and prompted the improvement of the Su-27 into the beast that is the Su-35), but before the year is over the engine will finally be ready for testing.
The Russians are done waiting however, so they will start building the first batch of the Su-57s in 2019 equipped with the old, proven and reliable powerplants, and then start building them around the more powerful Izdeliye-30 engine in the 2020s.
The advantage of the Su-57 compared to the Su-35 is precisely the new engine, and lower visibility to narrow-band radar.