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Two Su-57 fighter jets reportedly deployed to Syria for operational testing


Two Su-57 prototype fifth-generation fighter jets have been dispatched to the Humaymim airbase in Syria for operational evaluation and tests (OE&T), according to Russian and foreign media outlets including the Lenta.Ru network broadcaster, the blog of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) and the Vostok-Media news agency.


su 57 dispatched in syria 001 Two Su-57s reportedly landed at the Humaymim airbase
(Credit: twitter.com/WaelAlHussaini)


The footage published by Wael al-Hussaini, a Syrian Internet user, shows landing of two T-50 fighters at the Humaymim airbase. The aircraft were being escorted by a Su-30SM multirole fighter jet. According to the blog of CAST, four Su-35S multirole fighter jets and an A-50U airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft were also deployed at the airbase. These aircraft are believed to have been dispatched to Syria during a rotation cycle.

During his tour to the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant (KNAAZ, a subsidiary of the United Aircraft Corporation`s Sukhoi Company) in early February, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said the first stage of the state trials of T-50 had finished. "We acquire the Su-57 [the military designation for the PAK FA] for OE&T, and the first stage of the state trials has finished," Borisov said. "This year, we will sign a contract for the first Su-57 batch for the Armed Forces. We will initially buy the first squadron of 12 jets," the official added.

The T-50 aircraft powered by the Unit 117 engines are believed to have been deployed to Syria for OE&T. The conflict in Syria will allow testing of the platform`s capabilities to engage ground targets, using both guided and unguided air-launched weapons. Moreover, the presence of a large number of various foreign-originated aircraft in the Syrian airspace will allow evaluating of the functioning of the jet`s onboard radar systems, including an AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar and an optical location station. The experience to be gained will apparently benefit the further development of the PAK FA program.

It should be mentioned that the operational use of the aircraft that has yet to be adopted by the Russian Armed Forces is coupled to heightened risks. However, the probable use of the prototype fighters in a real conflict will shore up the export potential of the aircraft.

There are no additional details on the deployment of the prototype T-50 fighter jets deployed at the Humaymim airbase. Russia`s Ministry of Defense (MoD) or other sources have yet to confirm the abovementioned information.

The T-50 aircraft powered by the Unit 30 engines made its maiden flight last December. Earlier, the aircraft had started tests of air-launched weapons. The jet is reported to be confirming the declared specifications. The test pilots of the Aerospace Forces (VKS) are testing the capabilities of the T-50 at the Chkalov state flight test center. The trials of the fighter`s integrated multifunctional electronic system with AESA are being carried out on schedule.

The T-50 made its maiden flight in January 2010. Ten aircraft are now participating in the flight tests.