Serial production of the Su-57 in the context of engines

Experienced Su-57 with first stage engines. Photo UAC /

Last year, a contract was signed for the large-scale production of 5th generation Su-57 fighters, and then the assembly of equipment began. This order will take several years to complete and will have some interesting features. So, a significant part of the plans is directly related to the promising engine under the code “30”.

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Earlier it was repeatedly reported that the Su-57 will eventually go into serial production in two versions, differing in the composition of equipment and equipment. First of all, the differences between the series will be in the type of power plant. Aircraft of the first batch will receive existing engines, and later equipment will begin to be equipped with new products.

On May 8, RIA Novosti published excerpts from an interview with Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko, incl. and on the commenced production of Su-57 aircraft. The deputy minister spoke about the imminent start of deliveries of serial equipment, and also noted that plans for a two-stage serial production remain in force.

As previously reported, the first lots of the Su-57 will have “4th generation engines”, i.e. existing serial AL-41F1. The deliveries of equipment in this configuration will continue until the mid-twenties. By this time, it is planned to complete all test and design activities, according to the results of which the 5th generation engine “Product 30” will be prepared for the series.

More precise delivery times, the number of aircraft in one configuration or another, etc. remained unnamed. At the same time, A. Krivoruchko pointed out the advantages of promising engines in the form of a reduced life cycle cost and increased fuel efficiency.

2 + 76 = series

As part of the development work on the PAK FA theme, 10 flight prototypes were built and tested; three more products were intended for various ground events. By now, all the main tests have been completed, which made it possible to start serial production.

Su-57 and an experienced UAV S-70. Photo of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

In August 2018, at the Army forum, a contract was signed for the supply of the first two production Su-57s in 2019 and 2020. At the end of June 2019, the Ministry of Defense issued a much larger order. The new contract provides for the construction of 76 aircraft for delivery in 2020-27. As follows from the available materials, work on the assembly of equipment started already in 2018.

In November 2019, a photograph of a Su-57 aircraft with tail number “01 blue” and serial number 51001 appeared in the domestic media in the assembly shop of the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft plant. The Ministry of Defense specified that by the end of the year the aircraft would be handed over to the Aerospace Forces. Delivery of the second such aircraft was expected in 2020. Apparently, it was about the fulfillment of the order in 2018 for two cars.

Just a few weeks later, on December 24, 01 Blue crashed during a test flight. The test pilot successfully ejected and was evacuated. Possible causes of the incident were published in the media, citing various sources, but the results of the official investigation remain unknown. It was announced that they will be taken into account when improving the aircraft.

Currently, several serial Su-57s are already in the shops of KaAAZ at different stages of construction. This is the second aircraft of the 2018 contract, as well as the first aircraft of the second order. Videoconferencing must accept this technique by the end of this year. The next batch will go to the troops in 2021, and similar processes will continue until 2027.

As A. Krivoruchko noted in November last year, so far we are talking only about the supply of single aircraft, but already in 2020-21. the volume of construction and commissioning will grow significantly. However, both then and in the last interview, the deputy minister did not disclose more accurate figures.

Matter of engines

While the so-called aircraft remain in production. the first stage, having the appropriate composition of onboard equipment and power plant. Both the lost last year and the aircraft under construction now are equipped with 117 / AL-41F1 engines. The same units will be used on a significant number of subsequent Su-57s.

Engine “117” / AL-41F1. Photo

The exact number of the first stage fighters has not yet been disclosed. It is only known that they will be produced until the middle of the decade, after which the so-called. the second stage of the series. Products 30 will be installed on all new aircraft until the completion of the second existing order. The share of such equipment in the total expected fleet of aircraft also remains unknown.

The deliveries of serial engines “30” to KnAAZ are still a matter of the distant future, but the necessary measures are already being taken. Since December 2017, flight tests of a prototype aircraft with the “30” engine have been carried out. It was planned to spend about three years on such tests. As far as is known, an aircraft with a combined power plant is being tested so far. In the near future, he will receive two “Products 30”.

Apparently, the customer and the contractor do not intend to rush and speed up work on a promising engine. All activities are carried out in accordance with the established schedule and without haste that could harm the project. The advantages of this approach to work execution are obvious.

Two motors

Stage 1 Su-57 fighters receive AL-41F1 engines showing very high performance. Products with an afterburner thrust of 15 thousand kgf are capable of accelerating an aircraft to high supersonic speeds, as well as providing a similar flight without the use of afterburner. The nozzle apparatus is equipped with thrust vector controls. The control system is fully electronic with a maximum degree of automation. Also, the engines are highly efficient and have an outstanding resource.

The modified version of the 117 engine, AL-41F1S, is already being produced in a large series and is actively used by the troops on the Su-35S fighters. The basic AL-41F1 has undergone a full cycle of tests on prototype T-50 / Su-57 and is recommended for use on production aircraft.

Serial production of the Su-57 in the context of engines

The first flight of the experienced Su-57 with the “30” engine (left). Photo UAC /

Not much is known about the second stage “30” engine. It was reported that experience gained was used in the development of the engine, but it was not a direct development of any of the existing designs. Through the use of modern technologies and solutions, it was possible to increase all the main characteristics – although the exact parameters have not yet been disclosed.

It is expected that the new “Product 30” will differ from the AL-41F1 in higher thrust in all modes with lower specific fuel consumption. The engine will receive a fully electronic automatic control system that independently ensures the operation of all units in optimal conditions. The nozzle with the UHT will remain.

New engines “30” will provide an increase in thrust-to-weight ratio. When using products “117” this parameter for the Su-57 with the maximum take-off weight does not exceed 0.85-0.9. Installation of engines “30” will make it possible to exceed 1. With a normal take-off weight, the thrust-to-weight ratio is expected to increase from 1-1.15 to 1.2-1.35. Accordingly, all the main take-off and landing and flight characteristics, carrying capacity, etc. will increase.

Distant future

Su-57 aircraft with second stage engines are expected to compare favorably with earlier aircraft in all the main characteristics depending on the power plant. However, the technique of the first stage will show very high characteristics even without the “30 Products”, almost beyond the capabilities of the aircraft of the previous generations.

The expected number of aircraft of the first and second stages is still unknown. Taking into account the announced terms and volumes of the order, you can imagine the approximate pace of production. In order to have time to hand over 76 cars by 2027 inclusive, the industry will have to produce approx. 10 aircraft annually. In this case, starting from the middle of the decade (in 2025-27), it will be possible to produce no more than a few dozen fighters of the second stage, and the bulk of the equipment will be aircraft with 117 engines.

The tail section of the aircraft close-up. The external differences between the nozzles of the two engines are clearly visible. Product “30” in the foreground. Photo UAC /

As far as can be judged, the current contracts for 78 production aircraft will not be the last, and in 2027 the construction of the Su-57 will not end. Thus, no later than 2028, we should expect the start of deliveries of equipment for the following batches. Most likely, they will be in the “second stage” configuration. Also, it cannot be ruled out that by that time there will be some kind of aircraft modernization project. At the same time, the conventional Su-57M will be equipped with the “30 Products” already familiar for its period, which in our time are still a distant prospect.

As part of the extensive PAK FA program, it was possible to develop and master in production a lot of new products for various purposes. One of the key components of the program was the promising engine “30”. He still remains at the testing stage, but in the foreseeable future the situation will change significantly. The result of this will be the appearance of the Su-57 in its final configuration – with all the required characteristics and capabilities.

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