Moscow: The successful debut test flight of the Russian Sukhoi-designed fifth-generation fighter jet in the Russian Far East on Friday is already creating ripples, including those of the envious kind. The fighter prototype, designated the PAK-FA T-50, is meant to be Russia's answer to the American Lockheed constructed F-22 Raptor.
Indeed, Western military sources, for long, have referred to it as the 'Raptorski.'
|Sukhoi's T-50 fighter taking off for its test flight|
The 47-minute flight carried out by Sergei Bogdan, one of Russia's best test pilots, marks the launch of a five year long project that will see two versions of the aircraft being developed. In accordance with the operational doctrines of both air forces, a single-seat version will be developed for the Russian Air Force and a two-seat version for the Indian Air Force.
While induction of the single-seat version for the Russian Air Force is slated for 2015, the twin-seat version for the IAF will likely be ready only two years later.
The two-seat version is being worked upon by Indian aerospace engineers from the country's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). India and Russia have agreed to co-develop the fighter and share the estimated development costs of $8-10 billion equally. Both nations will also place similar quantum of orders for the production version of the aircraft – approximately 250 aircraft each.
The Indians are also entrusted with a 25 per cent share of the design and development work.