The radar system for Russian Sukhoi T-50 combat aircraft is 99 per cent ‘ready’ to enter serial production after a series of development tests are completed.
The Tikhomirov NIIP active phased array radar system built for Russia’s first fifth-generation combat jet, the Sukhoi T-50 consists of one forward-looking X-band radar in the nose section and two side-scanning arrays as well as L-band antennas along the wing flaps.
The system has been put on display for the first time at the MAKS air show in Moscow, Rostec said in a statement Thursday.
Deputy chief designer of NIIP radar systems Andrey Sukhanov said he doesn’t have a time line for when the testing will conclude, but he is confident the overall design is stable barring minor tweaks.
“A lot of different equipment and items are involved in this testing, because it’s not only the radar being tested but the avionics of the entire system,” he said.
“This is similar to the Lockheed Martin F-22, and the F-35 testing that is taking place now. It does not depend on which country or manufacturer, because the problems encountered are always the same. If the testing finds some things that require finalization or adjustments then it will be done, but as for our estimate, the radar is 99% ready for serial production,” he added.
He gave little detail regarding the radar’s capability, other than to say it comes with air, ground and maritime modes and is easily adaptable to new air-launched weapons.
Sukhanov was also hesitant to say the number of threats the radar can track and target simultaneously, except to say “no fewer than the Su-35”.
State defense exporter Rostec claims that aircraft can track up to four ground or 30 airborne targets out to 400km, while simultaneously attacking up to eight airborne targets.
The super-maneuverable supersonic jet is the leading attraction at the show, and the head of United Aircraft (UAC) Yuri Slyusar said at a press conference 26 August that the program is on track despite reports of a slow-down. The Russian Ministry of Defense’s latest plan is to procure 55 T-50s through 2020, although the go-ahead for that number depends on the performance of the first 12.