“We are holding an operational evaluation and have purchased limited batches. We’ll see how they will operate in practice. We are now revealing all drawbacks and making changes to ensure that we purchase practically proven examples when time comes.”
Earlier this year, the Russian Aerospace Force confirmed it would receive five PAK FA jets later in 2017. These jets will be for the military to put through its own trials, following completion of industry tests. Russian military pilots will learn how to operate the planes and thereafter conduct the flight tests themselves, according to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.
#Russia Pictures of eighth prototype PAK FA stealth fighter jet (T-50-8) undergoing test flights http://t.co/CMx1IjAqrM pic.twitter.com/MoSc8Omm43
— Derek Bisaccio (@DerekBisaccio) December 19, 2016
It is unclear how many PAK FAs Russia will order in an initial batch. Previous estimates of dozens of jets have been cut to a preliminary 12. The size of the order will depend on both the condition of Russia’s military budget and the result of the military testing that will begin soon.
Borisov indicated that the PAK FA order could be in the 2018-2025 state armament program, which is currently being prepared and likely to be announced by mid-2017.