The Su-57 could be the future of Russian military aviation – but there’s still a lot of questions hanging around the country’s first stealth fighter.
While Russia recently announced its desire to turn its first stealth fighter into a sixth generation plane, the Su-57 is still undergoing testing and has yet to be mass produced.
Moscow, nevertheless, touts the Su-57 as a more capable fighter than the F-22 Raptor, despite the fact that much of its capabilities are still classified.
While the two stealth planes are similar in design and other ways, they also have plenty of differences.
Here’s what we know thus far about the Su-57:
The Su-57, originally called the T-50, made its maiden flight in January 2010.
Source: United Aircraft Corporation
Russian President Vladimir Putin himself even checked out the Su-57 after it first flew.
The most current Su-57 prototype is fitted with an Izdelie-30 engine, but it reportedly has been problematic and is slated to be tested near the end of 2017.
The fighter also only needs about 1,100 feet of runway length to take off.
The Izdelie-30 engine, however, will reportedly provide the fighter with up to 70,000 pounds of thrust and a climbing rate of 70,000 feet per minute.
As well as a cruising speed of about 800 mph.
And a top speed of about 1,616 mph.
The F-22, on the other hand, has a top speed of about 1,500 mph.
The Su-57 can also hit altitudes of about 65,000 feet, while the F-22 has a ceiling of about 50,000 feet.
The Su-57 holds a variety of bombs and missiles in its two large internal weapons bays.
The graphic below shows all the missiles and bombs the Su-57 can hold.
Not included in the graphic, however, is the jet’s two internally mounted 30mm cannons.
This graphic from Sputnik gives a good overview of the Su-57’s capabilities.
The Su-57 is also incredibly agile and maneuverable — some say more than the F-22 Raptor — and therefore can dodge missiles and put itself in strategic firing positions relatively easily.
The Su-57 is reportedly equipped with three-dimensional thrust vector jets, while the F-22 only has two-dimensional thrust vector jets.
Some, however, are skeptical of the Su-57’s agility.
Watch the Su-57’s maneuverability below:
Source: The National Interest
It’s also equipped with an OLS-50M infrared and tracking system, which the Raptor doesn’t have.
Source: The National Interest
The Su-57’s stealth capabilities, however, have been questioned, and some analysts have even doubted that it’s actually a fifth generation fighter.
While Russian media touts the Su-57 as an “aerial ghost,” one scientist working on stealth aircraft for the US called it a “dirty aircraft,” with many glaring flaws that would light up radars scanning for the plane.
Moscow even recently announced that it’s looking to turn the Su-57 into a sixth generation fighter, meaning it would at least have unmanned capabilities.
The shot above shows the Su-57 flying below an Su-34 during the 2017 MAKS air show.
Ultimately, though, it’s difficult to tell whether the Su-57 or F-22 would win in a dogfight.
The Su-57 is reportedly faster, but the F-22 is stealthier. The two fighters are also both extremely agile, but there is disagreement over which moves better.
The F-22 is also reportedly more lethal than the Su-57 at long ranges, giving it the edge in the initial stages of the fight. However, the Su-57’s agility and infrared and tracking system might give it the edge in close combat.
The Su-57 is however still undergoing testing, and Russia will receive its first batch of 12 fighters only in 2019. The Raptor, on the other hand, has been operational since 2005.