A Russian Aerospace Forces commander has detailed the size of the first order for PAK FA stealth fighter jets.
Speaking to reporters at LIMA-2017, a military exhibition in Malaysia, a deputy commander in the Russian Aerospace Forces revealed the size of the service’s first order for PAK FA stealth fighter jets.
Sputnik International quoted the deputy commander, Lt. Gen. Andrey Yudin, as telling reporters, “T-50, there are no secrets here, is an aircraft with supersonic speed without afterburners, with stealth and artificial intelligence. We will receive this machine. Six pieces.”
Lt. Gen. Yudin did not specify if these six would be more prototype jets or the serial-produced version.
Russia’s will receive several more prototypes of the jet this year, which will be put through trials, ahead of serial production. While the number of prototypes to be delivered in 2017 was initially expected to be five, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov stated as recently as two weeks ago that only three prototype PAK FAs would be delivered in 2017.
It is possible, then, that Lt. Gen. Yudin referred to serially-produced aircraft. Deputy Defense Minister Borisov had previously indicated that the plane would be included in the state armaments program 2018-2025, which is currently being developed and could be finished by mid-2017.
Serial production of the PAK FA is expected to begin in late 2018 or 2019. The Aerospace Forces may start receiving operational jets in 2021. Planned orders for 52 PAK FAs have been revised down to 12. Lt. Gen. Yudin’s comments may indicate that the first order will instead be half of that figure.