Russia's United Engine Corporation (UEC) has conducted first ground-based ignition of the engine’s second stage for the prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation (PAK FA T-50 aircraft).
Gas generators had to be prepared for the testing, along with the demonstrator engine, Russia Beyond the Headlines reported Monday.
The PAK FA is currently using a first stage engine, a modernized Al-41.
The AI-41 is an updated version of the engines used for the Su-27, Su-30 and other models in that series, Pavel Bulat, avionics specialist and head of the Kupol Group of Companies, said.
“The engine for the T-50 was significantly upgraded from the original models, incorporating the latest control system, compressors, and so on. Nevertheless, it still falls short of the 5th generation model, and is very noticeable on radar screens,” said the expert.
The new second-stage engine enables the T-50 to accelerate to supersonic speed, and maintain that velocity throughout the flight, without using afterburners.
“The speed will be as much as Mach 1.6 (about 1,200 mph), depending on the terrain over which the flight is taking place. The engine will also significantly improve the stealth properties of the PAK FA, thanks to the use of new composite materials,” said Bulat.
The designers expect to start testing the new engine on fighter jets in 2018, and for the motor to be fully integrated in 2020.
Besides engine, “the radar station also requires modification, and engineers need to remove the last deficiencies in the airframe concept, which, among all the aircraft flying today, is the most modern in the world,” said the analyst.