Russia’s T-50 (PAK FA) fifth-generation stealth fighter jet has received the serial index designation of 'Su-57' from the Russian Aerospace Forces, its Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Viktor Bondarev said.
The nomenclacure change indicates that the development phase is nearing completion and that the aircraft is soon to enter serial production.
Alloting it the Su-57 designation is also an indication of how much advanced the jet is considered by its designers in comparison to the current crop of Russian fighter jets, the most advanced of which is the Su-35, which was developed in the begining of this decade.
"The decision has been made and the plane has got its name as Su-57," Bondarev said in an interview with the website of Zvezda TV Channel on Friday.
The PAK FA (Perspective Aviation Complex of Frontline Aviation) took to the skies for the first time in 2010. The experimental design work on the fighter jet should be completed in 2019 and its deliveries to the troops should begin at that time.
As United Aircraft Corporation CEO Yuri Slyusar said, the pre-production batch will consist of 12 such planes. The T-50 with the advanced (main) engine would perform its debut flight in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Currently, the so-called first stage engine 117S is mounted on the Russian fighter. A new engine has not yet received its name and is conventionally designated as the second stage engine.
In addition to stealth capabiliies, the T-50 (Su-37) will boast of super-cruise ability and an internal weapons bay, features which are found in only the most advanced western aircraft, such as the US F-22.