Moscow: Russia's prototype fifth-generation fighter, a joint venture with India, made a successful 45-minute maiden flight on Friday in the country's Far East, Russian television said. The flight was earlier postponed by 24 hours because of poor weather conditions in Komsomolsk-on-Amur where tests on the prototype are being carried out.
"The fifth generation fighter made its maiden flight at Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The flight lasted about 45 minutes and was a success," Sukhoi Corporation's spokesperson Olga Kayukova told state-run 'Rossiya 24' TV. She described the flight as a textbook one, saying, "all the expectations of the scientists were met."
| Image: warfare.ru|
The successful flight makes it likely that the stealth fighter would be ready for operational service sometime over the next five years.
Built under the Project name T-50 PAK-FA (Advanced Tactical Frontline Fighter) the Sukhoi-designed aircraft is meant to compete with the US Lockheed Martin-built F-22 Raptor, which is the world's only fifth-generation air dominance fighter, as well as Lockheed's F-35 Lightning II - a fifth generation, stealth, ground attack fighter, currently under development.
The T-50, with a range of 5,500 km, is expected to enter service with the Russian Air Force in 2015 in a single-seater version.
With the debut flight, Russia becomes only the second country in the world to produce a fifth generation fighter.