Russia has begun testing its new Su-57 stealth fighter engine -- but there's a snag

United Aircraft CorporationSu-57
  • Russia’s Su-57 stealth fighter made its maiden flight with its new Izdelie-30 engine last week.
  • But the engine will not be ready until 2025, and the Su-57 will not be ready for serial production until 2027.
  • The Su-57’s slow production appears to be caused at least in part to budgetary problems.

Russia’s Su-57 stealth fighter made its maiden flight with its new Izdelie-30 engine last week, according to Russian media.

But there’s a problem: The engines won’t be ready to be used until 2025, and the Su-57 won’t be ready for serial production until 2027, The National Interest reports.

The trials “have just begun,” Yuri Slyusar, the president of United Aircraft Corporation, told TASS.

“They will, of course, last several years,” Slyusar said.

Little is known about the Izdelie-30 engine, but it will reportedly provide the Su-57 with 39,566lbs of afterburning thrust, according to The National Interest. It will also improve the Su-57’s fuel efficiency and stealth capabilities, The Diplomat reports.

The F-22 Raptor, on the other hand, which Russia touts as inferior to the Su-57, is equipped with two F119-PW-100 turbofan engines providing 35,000lbs of thrust each.

The Russian Air Force plans to purchase a dozen Su-57s fitted with the AL-41F1 engines in 2019, and over “the next eight years … will continue to purchase small numbers of these planes for testing,” CNA senior research scientist Dmitry Gorenburg recently wrote.

Su-57United Aircraft CorporationSu-57

Saturn AL-41F1 afterburning turbofans, however, which provide 32,500lbs of thrust each, are the same engines on the Su-35, The National Interest reported.

As such, the Su-57’s capabilities with the Saturn AL-41F1 engines, besides stealth, are rather similar the Su-35’s capabilities, The National Interest reported.

Gorenburg told Business Insider that Russia will altogether purchase 50-60 of the Su-57s with the AL-41F1 engines. The first 12 will be used for combat, while the rest will be used for testing.

Moscow is probably thinking “let’s just wait until [the Su-57] has the better engines, and then we’ll buy a bunch,” Gorenburg told Business Insider.

Production of the Su-57, which made its maiden flight in 2010, has not only been hampered by budgetary problems, according to The Drive, but also “delays, accidents, and rumours of massive design changes.”

Watch the Su-57 make its first flight with the Izdelie-30 engines:

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