"We are buying Su-57 jets for combat trials. The first stage of state trials has been concluded," Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said, speaking to reporters during a visit to the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant on Thursday. The plant is expected to build the planes when mass production kicks in.
According to the senior officer, a contract for the delivery of a pilot batch of 12 Su-57s will be signed this year.
Borisov clarified that the first two planes from this batch may enter service with the Armed Forces in 2019. He added that 12 Su-57s have already been built during the development of the aircraft, known as the PAK FA, or 'Prospective Aviation Complex of Frontline Aviation' before being christened the Su-57 last year, with ten of them continuing flight testing.
Asked about the state of development work of the Su-57's new, truly fifth-gen engines, the deputy defense minister said it was too early to say at this stage. "Right now it's hard to say, because there has only been one flight. Everything seems normal, but as you might imagine, this is a whole range of trials. Many test flights must be carried out. As a rule, such testing requires two-three years."
The fighter is also equipped with airborne active phased array radar, which allows it to 'see' air, ground and naval targets at distances far beyond most modern systems, and to strike the enemy with a variety of modern weapons, including short, medium and long-range air-to-air, air-to-ground, and special anti-radar missiles. Built from composite materials, the supermaneuverable plane includes an in-flight refueling system.