Russia’s Vice President of Research and Industrial Association NPO Pribor, Oleg Chizhevsky, told reporters on April 18, 2017 that munitions tests for the PAK FA fighter jet may be completed this year, according to Tass News Agency.
Tass News Agency quoted Chizhevsky as saying, “We hope that the official munitions tests for the T-50’s cannon will be successfully completed this year.”
The PAK FA carries a 30mm 9A1-4071K cannon, in addition to hardpoints able to support a variety of missiles and ordnance. The initial batch of 30mm munitions for test-firing are to be delivered this year, after being declared ready for testing in September 2016.
United Aircraft Corporation released footage last year of the cannon itself being fired.
The on-board computer system for the PAK FA has also reportedly undergone flight testing recently. Zvezda, a Russian TV channel, reported that the computer will be able to perform the role of pilot, navigator, and flight engineer.
Russia plans to receive between three and five prototype PAK FAs this year, to be put through military testing, ahead of serial production. Testing is expected to be completed in either late 2018 or early 2019, with serial production beginning thereafter.
The Russian Aerospace Forces may start taking delivery of operational PAK FA jets in 2021 or 2022.
The jet will be included in the state armaments program for 2018-2025, though the size of the first order of operational jets is unclear. Some Russian officials have floated an order of six — half the previously suggested figure of 12, itself reduced from initial expectations — but without clarifying if they were referring to prototype or serially-produced jets.