Russia, China Push Fifth-Generation Fighter Programmes To Meet Year-End Milestones

  Asecond prototype of the Sukhoi T-50 (PAK-FA) fifth-generation fighteraircraft will make its first flight by the end of this year, accordingto Russian defence industry spokespersons.

As with the first prototype, this aircraft will be flown initially fromthe Dzemgi aerodrome adjacent to the Komsomolsk-na-Amure AviationProduction Association. After initial-acceptance test flights, it willbe transferred to the Gromov Flight Research Institute in Zhukovsky. 

Sukhoi's general director, Mikhail Pogosian, stated that a T-50 willalso be flown in a display at the MAKS International Aviation and SpaceSalon in August 2011.

A source close to the programme told Jane's that "the end-of-the-yeardeadline may not be met, but the aircraft will fly very soon - eitherbefore the end of 2010 or just after the [beginning of the] new year".Russian aircraft programmes - even in Soviet times - have often hadyear-end deadlines for first flights that came down to near photofinishes. 

Meanwhile, rumours have emerged from China's Chengdu AerospaceCorporation (CAC) and the adjoining Aircraft Plant 132 that aChinese-developed fifth-generation fighter prototype may also fly bythe end of the year. Reportedly, two airframes - numbered 2001 and 2002- have been assembled at the plant.

According to Russian industry sources, the programme - sometimesreferred to as 'J-20' - is a joint design effort between CAC and theShenyang Aircraft Corporation, with Chengdu taking the lead on thedevelopment. 

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