PAK FA vs F-22


This article will compare upcoming Russian PAK FA with US F-22, since both air single-purpose heavyweight air-to-air fighters. However, since PAK FA is still in a prototype stage, article will by its nature be incomplete. I should also note that while some use the term “Raptorski” for PAK FA, it is entirely inaccurate. In fact, while the F-22 clearly draws its basic design from its F-15 predecessor, utilizing some aerodynamic advances introduced by the F-16 (such as aerodynamically unstable design and LERX), PAK FA in the same measure draws its basic design from Su-27. F-22, like the F-15, has two closely set engines, air intakes on sides of the cockpit and classical wing-tail surfaces with shoulder-mounted wing. Both have standard armament of eight missiles and M61 20 mm rotary gun. Su-27 and PAK FA on the other hand both utilize large LERX, wing-body blending and spaced podded engines. They also have basic standard armament of six missiles and 30 mm revolver cannon. If comparison should be drawn, then F-22 can be described as a stealth!F-15, and PAK FA as a stealth!Su-27, as neither presents clear design departure from their predecessor that the F-16 did. They are also both hugely complex to produce due to their stealth designs, and as a result both US and Russia have decided to supplement them with large fleets of 4,0 (and, in Russia’s case, 4,5) generation fighters.

Impact on pilot’s skill

Most important factors in fighter design are ones that directly affect pilot: sortie rate / maintenance downtime, operating cost, user interface and reliability. Good enough pilot will compensate for aircraft’s weaknesses and focus on strengths, and even if aircraft is inferior across the board, he will be able to beat the opponent through tactics. How important training is was shown clearly in Vietnam: early on, USAFs F-4s achieved negative 2:1 exchange ratios against NVAF MiG-19 and MiG-21. Once USAF put some effort into pilot training, they started regularly achieving positive 2:1 exchange ratios. This is despite the fact that in dogfight, angles fighter (MiG) has no inherent advantage over the energy fighter (F-4) – or the opposite. In fact, MiGs had advantage in Vietnam due to smaller size and less smoky engines.

Both F-22 and PAK FA are twin-engined heavy stealth fighters, which means that they will be harder to maintain than any non-stealth fighters. F-22 can fly one hour every two days, and PAK FA will likely do better than that due to lesser focus on stealth; still, it is unrealistic to expect more than one hour per day. Neither is likely to delover 30 hours per month that pilots need to stay proficient, but PAK FA is in the better position due to less focus on radar stealth.

Situational awareness

F-22 has only an X-band AN/APG-77 radar in the nose, with 120* coverage and 1.956 T/R modules. It also has IR/UV MAWS and RWR sensors providing spherical coverage. PAK FA has an IRST sensor on the nose, forward-looking AESA radar with 1.552 T/R modules, two side-mounted AESA radars with 358 T/R modules each, with 240* total (?) coverage; it may also have a tail boom radar, providing for a 360* coverage. It also has turreted DIRCM sensors on the dorsal spine and lower fuselage as well as UV MAWS and RWR sensors. F-22 has 190,5 degree vertical and 345 degree horizontal cockpit visibility, with 4,5 degrees aft being blocked in vertical by airframe. PAK FA has 181 degree vertical and 310 degree horizontal cockpit visibility, with 14 degrees aft being blocked in vertical by airframe. Overall, F-22 has advantage in cockpit visibility while PAK FA has advantage in passive surveillance and sensors coverage. PAK FA may also have L-band radars in wing leading edges, though those may as well just be IFF systems; they can be used for EW purposes.


Stealth can be divided into several areas: visual, radar and IR. Visual stealth refers to how easy is to to see the aircraft with Mk.I eyeball. Radar stealth can refer to two things: aircraft’s radar cross section (RCS), and aircraft’s radar emissions (EMCON). IR stealth refers to aircraft’s IR signature.

In terms of visual signature, PAK FA is flatter than the F-22 and has smaller frontal signature. There will be no great difference in side or top signature, and both aircraft are very large.

In terms of radar signature, F-22 will be detected first as it has to use radar to have hope of BVR detection, while PAK FA can stay passive and use IRST and RWR to keep track of the F-22. Average (not frontal!) RCS is 0,5 m2 for PAK FA compared to 0,3 m2 for F-22. Frontal RCS is 0,0014 – 0,025 m2 for PAK FA (tennis/golf ball to 1/40 of Su-35S) and 0,00018 m2 for F-22. Most likely RCS for PAK FA is 0,01 m2, as estimated by Air Power Australia. AN/APG-77 has range of 193 km vs 1 m2 target, whereas PAK FAs radar may achieve range of 350-400 km vs 3 m2 target; lower range is more likely as Irbis E achieves 425 km vs 5 m2 target. Using radar, F-22 will detect PAK FA at 37-77 km, while PAK FA will detect F-22 at 30-35 km. F-22 will achieve 30-62 km tracking range vs PAK FA, while PAK FA will achieve 24-28 km tracking range against F-22. In presence of jamming, F-22 will achieve 5-12 km tracking range, and PAK FA will achieve 5 km tracking range. Going by APA estimates, F-22 will detect PAK FA at 61 km, leading to tracking range of 49 km, or 9 km if jamming is present. F-22 uses its own radar for jamming, and also has expendable jammers. PAK FA can also use its radar for jamming, and will likely have internal jammer as well. That being said, PAK FAs uneven underside will increase its RCS vs ground radars, or if maneuvers expose it to airborne radars. PAK FA also has non-stealthy engine nozzles. This however is not a major issue, especially in air combat, since PAK FAs significant supercruise capability will make it relatively immune to chase shots.

However, using radar will allow detection of radar’s signals at far larger distance, possibly up to several hundred kilometers and most likely not less than 100-200 km. This, of course, depends on quality of radar warning sensors. As a consequence, radars will typically stay off. This means a major disadvantage for the F-22, as it does not have onboard IRST and will thus have to rely on offboard sensors and datalinked data – and datalinks can be jammed to uselessness, especially if they are transferring large amounts of data. PAK FA has OLS-50, an advanced version of Su-35s OLS-35. OLS-35 can detect a subsonic fighter-sized target from 50 km head-on and 90 km tail-on; since OLS-50 is assumed to be a QWIP sensor, it is likely to offer significantly improved performance – possibly even on par with PIRATE (90 km head on, 145 km tail-on vs subsonic fighter aircraft). Head-on tracking range will thus likely be between 40 and 70 km, allowing PAK FA to launch missile from 30-60 km, while F-22 will only be able to launch missile from maybe 10 km, or 20-50 km if jamming is not present.

In terms of IR signature, primary factors are size, speed and engine emissions. F-22 is 18,9 m long, 5,08 m high with 13,56 m wing span. It has 21.319 kgf of dry thrust and cruise speed of Mach 1,75. PAK FA is 19,8 m long, 4,74 m high with 13,95 m wing span. It has 19.051 kgf of dry thrust and cruise speed of Mach 1,6. While PAK FA, as it is, uses round engine nozzles, F-22s flat nozzles allow for some IR signature reduction. Overall, there should be no major difference in IR signature, though F-22 might have slight advantage.

Cruise performance

F-22 can cruise at Mach 1,75 with 8 missiles, while PAK FA can achieve Mach 1,6 with 6 missiles. However, while F-22 has fuel fraction of 0,29, PAK FA has fuel fraction of 0,36, suggesting significantly superior supersonic endurance. At subsonic speeds, maximum combat radius on internal fuel is 1.166 km for the F-22 and 1.700 km for PAK FA, which also shows PAK FAs superior endurance. PAK FAs LEVCONS might improve supersonic performance when compared to the F-22, in a similar way to what close coupled canards do (by reducing supersonic pressure point shift). Both aircraft also have sharp LERXes, which reduce supersonic drag by producing a shock in front of the wing leading edge.


F-22 has wing loading of 317,4 kg/m2 and TWR of 1,35 at combat weight. PAK FA has wing loading of 272,84 kg/m2 and TWR of 1,4 at typical combat weight and wing loading of 306,09 kg/m2 and TWR of 1,24 at heavy combat weight. PAK FA will have less drag and better lift/drag ratio during cruise when compared to the F-22 due to large flat area between engines, where BVR missile bay is located, and overall more slender airframe. However, PAK FA has more wetted area and a number of sharp transitions between engine nacelles and fuselage, resulting in increased drag, which will reduce drag difference. While its higher wing sweep (46,5* vs 42*) will help reduce drag during cruise and allow slower drag rise with increased Mach as well as compressed transonic region, it will also increase drag during maneuvering flight. Span loading is 1.835 kg/m for F-22 and 1.541 kg/m at standard combat weight / 1.729 kg/m at heavy combat weight for PAK FA, counteracting adverse effects of higher wing sweep. Overall, PAK FA can be expected to drag less, but difference will not be great.

However, F-22s engines are placed close together while PAK FA has widely separated engines. Consequently, F-22 has significantly lower roll inertia, resulting in superior roll performance – in particular, roll onset rate can be expected to be superior for the F-22. While PAK FAs differentially vectored engines may compensate for this somewhat, these have far slower response than control surfaces (20 deg/s TVC vs 60-70 deg/s tails/ailerons in F-22). PAK FA consequently uses differential deflection of LEVCONS to improve roll onset, but it will stll have sluggish roll performance when compared to the F-22.

Overall, PAK FA is likely to have better turn rates (with difference being rather minor at heavy combat weight) while F-22 will have better roll performance. However, PAK FA will – at heavy weight at least – have significantly superior combat endurance.

PAK FA will have initial climb rate of 361 m/s, compared to F-22s 350 m/s. If these figures are correct, it means that PAK FA will have minor advantage in regaining energy during dogfight, as well as slight superiority in BVR engagement. PAK FAs higher wing sweep in any case suggests superior acceleration.

Both F-22 and PAK FA are likely to have good post-stall maneuverability thanks to thrust vectoring. Both aircraft have very sharp LERX devices (cca 70* sweep) which promote strong wortex flows at high angles of attack, improving turn rates. Both aircraft are also likely to have similar supersonic maneuverability.

Overall, dogfight performance will be similar, with edge to the F-22; PAK FA will have a small edge in BVR maneuvering performance.


F-22 has AIM-120 for beyond visual range engagement and AIM-9X for within visual range engagement. AIM-120D is a RF BVR missile with 180 km maximum aerodynamic range. It has 40 g maneuvering capability at Mach 4. AIM-9X is an IR missile with 26 km maximum aerodynamic range and 50 g maneuvering capability at Mach 2,7. AIM-9X Block III was supposed to provide a limited-capability IR BVRAAM with 42 km range, improving F-22s lethality in beyond visual range combat. However, its development was cancelled. F-22s lack of IRST means that it is still dependant on radar for firing solution. Consequently, it sacrifices surprise against a competent opponent, significantly limiting F-22s beyond visual range capability.

PAK FA has R-77 for beyond visual range engagement and R-73 for within visual range engagement. R-77 is a BVR missile with 110 km maximum aerodynamic range (possibly up to 150 km). However, its lattice controls make it more maneuverable than the AIM-120D. It also has the advantage of three variants – in addition to standard RF head, it also has IR and anti-radiation options avaliable. This diversity presents a challenge to opponents. While PAK FA will have to defeat only RF AIM-120D when fighting the F-22 or other US fighters (with RF Meteor and RF/IR MICA added to the mix when facing European fighters), F-22 pilot will have to defeat RF, IR and AR variants. Last (antiradiation) variant is a major challenge to the entire concept of the F-22, as it can force the opponent to completely shut down the radar. Combination of IRST and passive missiles also allows PAK FA completely passive BVR engagement capability, significantly improving its lethality in beyond visual range combat.

Overall, IIR missiles are extremely hard to jam or decoy. They are also ideal for engaging low-RCS targets, as all high-speed aircraft will have significant IR signature regardless of any reduction measures. Anti-radiation missiles meanwhile can home on the enemy radar, while active radar missiles force the enemy to use jamming and thus provide additional source for anti-radiation missiles. While modern DRFM jammers can safely jam enemy radars without worrying about anti-radiation missiles, these are still a significant threat for any fighter aircraft with no IRST.

F-22 has a standard loadout of 6 RF BVRAAM, 2 IR WVRAAM and 5,5 1-second bursts, with a possibility to carry RF BVRAAM instead of Sidewinders. PAK FA has a standard loadout of 4 RF BVRAAM, 2 IR WVRAAM and 5,2 1-second bursts, but RF BVRAAM can be replaced with IR or AR variants; using different missiles in a single salvo has a potential to improve salvo effectiveness over that consisting of missiles with single seeker type. PAK FA has an advantage in gun department in that it has two guns, giving it 30/60 30 mm rounds per burst, compared to the F-22s 37/96 20 mm rounds per burst. Consequently, throw weight per burst is 4,8/9,6 kg with 0,6/1,19 kg of HEI while F-22 has throw weight of 3,77/9,79 kg with 0,39/1,01 kg of HEI, giving overall similar performance with slightly edge in lethality to PAK FA in one-second bursts and higher edge in half-second bursts. In number of total onboard kills, F-22 has 2,1 to 2,2 onboard kills while PAK FA has 2,2 to 2,3 onboard kills, depending on weapons selection. However, as discussed before, any single salvo by PAK FA has a potential to be more effective than F-22s BVR salvo, somewhat increasing difference.

Numbers in the air

PAK FA will likely have a unit flyaway cost of 120-135 million USD, compared to the F-22s 170-200 million USD, giving it a 1,4:1 to 1,5:1 numerical advantage. However, PAK FA will likely have slightly lower maintenance downtime due to lesser emphasis on stealth, increasing numerical difference. A 50% advantage in numbers is a safe assumption.

Response to attacks

Combination of lower wing loading, LEVCONS and TVC will likely give PAK FA significantly better STOL performance. Its higher fuel fraction and combat radius will also enable it to be based at locations further away than what F-22 is capable of, and likely enable superior supersonic endurance.

PAK FA supercruises at Mach 1,6 with 6 missiles, compared to F-22s cruise speed of Mach 1,75 with 8 missiles. Assuming that 40% of the fuel can be used for supercruise, PAK FA can supercruise for 15,7 minutes at dry thrust, compared to 9,87 minutes for F-22 (going by static sea level figures). At 40.000 ft, this means that PAK FA can cover 444 km compared to 306 km for F-22.

Engagement kill chain performance

Kill chain consists of following steps:

  • detect
    • detection capability
    • identification capability
  • engage
    • cruise speed
    • maximum speed / mach on entry
    • altitude on entry
    • lock on / firing solution range
    • missile seeker diversity
    • endgame countermeasures (inbuilt, towed, disposable; jammers, decoys, chaff, flares)
  • defeat the missile / disengage
    • airframe agility
    • sensors coverage
    • mach on egress / fuel reserves on afterburner
  • destroy
    • BVR missile seeker diversity
    • BVR missile agility
    • BVR missile warhead lethality
    • WVR missile agility
    • WVR missile warhead lethality
    • gun lethality


PAK FA has a major initial detection advantage with its IRST. By using IRST, PAK FA can detect the F-22 at beyond visual range without radiating any signals. Conversely, F-22 pilot has to choose wether to limit himself to Mk.1 eyeball or use radar, giving his position at far longer distance than it will be able to detect the PAK FA at. This is made worse by PAK FA having extensive RCS reduction measures, making work easier for its radar warners. Since PAK FA will likely have RCS of 0,01 m2, F-22s radar will receive cca 0,01% of the signal that PAK FA receives. Even when aperture size difference between RWR and radar is accounted for, PAK FA will detect F-22s radar signal at 50 times the distance that PAK FA will appear on the F-22s scope, possibly more. If radar is not used, F-22 pilot will have to accept just as great disadvantage in detection range due to PAK FAs possession of IRST. If PAK FA is equipped with imaging IRST (such as QWIP IRST), it will also have significant advantage in identification range, giving it a true BVR combat capability, while the F-22 pilot will have to come within cca 400-1.000 meters from target to establish positive VID. NCTR works at longer ranges, but is very unreliable and can be disabled by jamming or by target maneuvering. For this reason, 82% of the enemy aircraft engaged during Desert Storm had to be identified with help of AWACS, which will not be avaliable against a competent opponents as comlinks will be jammed, and AWACS aircraft will not survive for long in a shooting war.


F-22 has a cruise speed of Mach 1,75 with 8 missiles, while PAK FA has cruise speed of Mach 1,6 with 6 missiles. Top speed is Mach 2,0 for both F-22 and PAK FA due to lack of variable geometry intake. Consequently, F-22 will have advantage in cruise speed and thus missile energy in standard conditions, while top speeds are equal. This cruise speed difference may give the F-22 some advantage in dictating terms of engagement, but that is limited due to low fuel fraction and PAK FAs superior acceleration.

F-22 has service ceilling of 65.000 ft; that of PAK FA is identical. Consequently, neither aircraft can count on altitude advantage in BVR engagement. Engagement range will come down to sensor capabilities, missile capabilities and closure speed. PAK FAs possession of IRST will likely give it superiority in engagement range (7-19 vs 40-70 km). This is further reinforced by its greater selection of missile types and seeker heads.

That being said, if PAK FA manages 75.000 ft service ceilling, it will give it an advantage over the F-22.

Defeat the missile / disengage

Once warned of a missile launch, first reaction is to properly position the aircraft for evasion. At beyond visual range, it is oftentimes enough to turn the aircraft away from the missile. At shorter ranges (near-visual and visual range), pilot has to quickly position the missile to the aircraft’s 3 or 9 o’clock and then turn into the missile once close enough. Both of these require high instantaneous turn capability, as well as acceleration / climb to recover lost energy and good transient performance. PAK FA has inferior roll performance to the F-22, but similar or superior turn performance and superior climb performance. Consequently, F-22 may have slight advantage when evading missiles due to superior transient performance, but this is at least partly compensated for by PAK FAs superior turn performance and acceleration.

Both PAK FA and F-22 have 360* coverage with radar and missile warners. However, F-22s only BVR sensor is AN/APG-77 X-band AESA radar which covers 120* arc to front of the aircraft. PAK FA has an IRST covering frontal sector and either 240* or 360* coverage with X-band AESA radars. Consequently, F-22 will have to keep the target within 60* off the nose in order to maintain radar track, forcing the pilot to choose wether to fly into enemy missile(s) or break the track in order to initiate proper evasive maneuvers. PAK FA will be able to keep track of the enemy while flying away from any possible missiles thanks to its side AESA arrays; however, against stealth fighters there will be a limit on this due to maximum effective detection range. Using IRST is an obvious solution, but it presents the PAK FA pilot with the same dilemma as the F-22 pilot has with using radar.

When it comes to fuel reserves for afterburner, it will be assumed that both aircraft have 40% of fuel avaliable. This however heavily penalizes PAK FA due to its significantly greater combat radius on internal fuel, which means that it will have greater percentage of internal fuel avaliable for maneuvers at same combat radius. At 40% internal fuel, F-22 has 3.280 kg of fuel avaliable, compared to the PAK FAs 4.120 kg. Fuel consumption at maximum afterburner is 60.894 kg/h for F-22 and 68.178 kg/h for PAK FA. This gives endurance of 3,23 minutes for F-22 and 3,63 minutes for PAK FA. However, since PAK FA with 50% of full internal fuel has TWR of 1,24, compared to F-22s 1,35, effective endurance may be higher for the F-22 as it will not require full afterburner to achieve same thrust-to-weight ratio.

In terms of countermeasures, both F-22 and PAK FA have standard load of chaff and flares. AESA radars that both aircraft use are capable of jamming enemy radars; here, PAK FA has a major advantage in coverage, as F-22 will have to keep the enemy within 60* off the nose to jam their radar while PAK FA will be able to keep up (less powerful) jamming even when facing away from the enemy. Neither uses, or is likely to use, classic omnidirectional RF jamming, or even directional AESA jammers as present on e.g. Rafale, since these are incompatible with all-aspect LO/VLO design. Answer to this problem may be provided with disposable jammers, which are present on the F-22 and may be present on PAK FA as well. While PAK FA will be able to jam F-22s radar and radar-guided missiles, PAK FA is immune to jamming due to presence of IRST and IR BVRAAM.


At beyond visual range, F-22 can use RF missiles, while PAK FA can also use IR and anti-radiation missiles. While AIM-9X Block III was supposed to have a maximum range of 40 km, but was cancelled. R-77 has a range of 110 (150?) km, and anti-radiation as well as IR variant. This gives PAK FA a significant advantage in surprise attacks from long range; while F-22s cruise speed advantage will reduce its disadvantage in missile range – 100 knot speed advantage reduces missile range 5 to 25%. At 40.000 ft, Mach 0,15 speed advantage that the F-22 has over the PAK FA translates into 86 knot difference, and 4,3% missile range difference. Hence, AIM-9X will achieve effective range of 1-2 km and R-77 will achieve effective range of 5,3 – 7,2 km. If F-22 uses AIM-120D, it will suffer from greater vulnerability to countermeasures but will achieve effective range in rear-quarter attacks of 9,4 km. Compared to AMRAAM, R-77 has the advantage of anti-missile capability, but it will be more limited than that of more maneuverable WVR missiles such as IRIS-T; however, neither aircraft carries IRIS-T.

When it comes to WVR missiles, F-22 has AIM-9X while PAK FA uses R-73/74. R-74 has range of 40 km, making it a BVR missile; AIM-9X Block II has range of 26 km. R-74 has 75* off-boresight capability, compared to 90* for AIM-9X. Seeker head FoV is 90* for AIM-9X and 120* for R-73 (likely similar for R-74).

In terms of gun lethality, PAK FA uses GSh-30-1 linear action gun and F-22 uses M61A2 rotary gun. GSh-30-1 fires 400 g projectile with 12,4% HEI content (~50 g) at 860 m/s muzzle velocity. M61A2 fires 102 g projectile with 11% HEI content (~11 g) at 1.050 m/s muzzle velocity. Crossectional density is 56,59 g/cm2 for GSh-30-1 and 32,47 g/cm2 for M61A2. Despite this, higher muzzle velocity may give M61 greater effective range. GSh-30-1 will fire 12 projectiles weighting 4,8 kg (0,6 kg HEI) in first 0,5 seconds, while M61 will fire 37 projectiles weighting 3,77 kg (0,4 kg HEI) in first 0,5 seconds, giving GSh-30-1 greater lethality.

Ground survivability

F-22 has a minimum takeoff distance of 480 m, compared to 300 m for PAK FA. F-22 has wing span of 13,56 m and PAK FA has wing span of 13,95 m; both way too large for proper road basing. However, PAK FA has robust undercarriage, allowing for more demanding landings. PAK FA will also have lower fuel consumption. Overall, PAK FA has advantage in ground survivability.


Capabilities of both aircraft are similar, with overall edge going to PAK FA. In the end, victory will most likely go to a pilot who plays to his aircraft’s strengths. Overall, F-22 is the only US fighter capable of matching PAK FA in one-on-one combat; F-15, F-16, F-18 and F-35 may win against PAK FA if deployed in superior numbers – which will not be a problem for teen-series fighters (especially F-16), but will be very problematic for F-35. However, F-22 still requires IRST to be truly effective.

Further reading

Comparing stealth fighters

Comparing modern Western fighters

Comparing modern fighter aircraft

F-22 Analysis

Airborne IRST properties and performance

Stealth in the air

Links of interest

Dassault Rafale vs F-35

Saab Gripen vs F-35

NATO main battle tanks comparison


Categories: technology, weapons

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93 replies

  1. So once again F-22 loses due to it lack of IRST and modern missiles. Tech European and Russian fighters had since the 70s/80s.
    The same thing happened during the mock dogfights against the Eurofighter.
    Wonder how much better the Raptor would be if it had the ability to use more advanced European missiles such as the MDBA Meteor,MICA or IRIS-T.

  2. I’d say overall the PAK FA is the stronger one. The really interesting question becomes if the Russians do manage to get the PAK FA a better engine – then it will probably tilt things even more in favor.

    Actually there’s another consideration – flight to maintenance. My guess is that the PAK FA might have an advantage there. It’s way too early to tell though.

    Probably doesn’t matter though as the funny thing is that both aircraft are proving too costly to be afforded in large numbers.

  3. Crazy people here…Pak Fa will be built only in 20 prototypes according to russian autorities; engines are re disegned from scratch according to russian autorities ; (in western countries it take s at least 10 years : kinda a miracle for pak-fa? ); carying external weapons makes pak fa a LO plane at best, no better than rafale at best; indian autorities recessed from project also because of crack failures in wings design (The other major reasons were lack of stealth, crap engines, crap missiles, according to indian autorities)..So here somebody is discussing about a crap project of a country that have no technical capibilities of building a supercrusing bvr supersonic agile plane, like typhoon , not mentioning stealth…

    • Russian engines were never very good, nothing new there… external weapons make any plane LO at best, be it F-22, F-35 or name it… and I’d like you to name *one* stealth fighter project which is *not* crap.

      • PAK FA has no internal bay: you cannot copy a f35 fuselage design without an internal bay and hope it is gonna be stealth..Stealth does not work like that..Kinda political amd propaganda xproject; furthermore russian have no single plane able to fight in supersonic: both for fuel consumpiton figures and most of all aerodinamics: EF typhoon a CTR of G6 at mach 1,6 ; an su35 wich tries to goes supesonic is sitting duck; thsat s the main differecnce between f22 , typhhon , in part raflae and all the other russian planes: eurocanards and f22 are designed to figt exclusively in supersonic, while if su35 try to do that is a dead pigeon . PAk Fa is a waste of money; how can you even discuss this topic not hoping people joking you?

        • PAK FA has three internal missile bays, one in the fuselage between the engines and two to the sides of the engines, just looking at photos can reveal you that (are you sure you are not confusing PAK FA with something else?). And where did you get that PAK FA copied F-35? It has NOTHING in common with the F-35, PAK FA is simply stealth!Su-27, just like F-22 is stealth!F-15 and F-35 is stealth!F-16.

          Russian engines do have higher fuel consumption than Western engines and are admittedly kinda shitty, but PAK FA has 0,36 fuel fraction compared to F-22s 0,28.

          No modern fighter is designed to fight exclusively in supersonic regime, off the top of my head I can recall only F-104 and MiG-31. Typhoon and F-22 are expected to fight primarily in supersonic regime, and Rafale is also expected to start engagement at supersonic speeds, but they are not expected to stay there for long. For usable supersonic endurance you need a fuel fraction of at least 40%, no modern fighter aircraft has that.

          PAK FA is a waste of money, I agree, but so are F-22 and F-35, all of them are designed for World War III which is a suicide. As for how I can discuss the topic and not hope people ridiculing me… if you can’t discuss something seriously without ridiculing someone’s stance, then it simply means that you yourself are too immature to be taken seriously. I don’t loose any sleep over people like that.

      • @Francesco Ganzetti

        Excuse but do you know what you are talking about?

        “PAK FA has no internal bay:”

        Where did you get that information from. The PAK-FA has four internal bays. Two between the engines each capable of holding 2 BVR missiles and two in the wing root each capable of holding one WVR missile

        “you cannot copy a f35 fuselage design without an internal bay and hope it is gonna be stealth..”

        Have you actually seen the PAK-FA? Where dose it copy the F-35 fusselage design? PAK-FA is clearlly and evolution of Su-27, not even remotely similar to the F-35. Are you sure you are not refering to the Shenyang_J-31 which is a chines knock-off of the F-35 done right (i.e. with two engines instead of one)

        “indian autorities recessed from project also because of crack failures in wings design (The other major reasons were lack of stealth, crap engines, crap missiles, according to indian autorities)..”

        I wouldn’t put to much thrust in what Indian authorities say. Or have you notice that they are crap at managing complex projects. Their TEJAS is a shame that after 30 years in development still isn’t anywhere near flightworthy, they lack the capacity to integrated complex building licenses such as tanks, the Su-30MKI (which once built in India had to be sent to Russia to be fixed) and both Dassault and Suhoi have expressed great reserves about India technical capacities, which resulted in Dassault refusing to offer warranty for anything build by Indian industry and Suhoi being unable share technical data with the Indian on the PAK-FA sister project (FGFA), which is the actual reason for India backing out of the project.

    • Both prototypes build so far, ( Yes, just 2 prototypes have been built so far,kinda a joke considering the hundreds of launches typhoon is doing now just to integrate meteor missile before 2016 ! ) have no internal bays…1 of two prototypes suffered of lethal wing crack…Typhoon recently achieved a 1800km speed record in just 45 minutes, from lift off , that translates in a 40 minutes countinous speed of mach1,8 just with internal fuel…Subsonic fuel consumption of typhoon is athe moment 1/3 third of su35; supersonic fuel consumption is classified but it would not be a suprise if tit would be 1/10 at mach 1,6…Su35 is a very very draggy plane..Neverthless this is not the point: typhoon has a CTR of g6 at mach 6: sukhois cannot fight in supersonic except flying very very very few minutes straight back to home at transonic speed or may be 30 seconds at mach1,6 always in a straight line as their CTR in supersonic is horrendous… Just to let you know typhoon has a max speed of mach2 in altitude: this is software limited ; there is an individual electronic key in each plane than can remoove software limitations and give in step 1 10% more dry and afterburner trust, and in step 2 25% more both dry and in afterburner..Pilots are not allowed to use that key except that in a war scenario as it would affect lifespan of engines ( that is incredible on typhoons) of some fraction…F22 top speed is limited in a similar way : it is extiomated to be in a mch2,7/2,8 range but over mach 2 ram coatings deteriorates…We dont know if in f22s there are removable limitations like in typhoons..At the opposite speed figures of soviet planes are overhextimated : reverse engegnery on a mig 25 revealed that it could have been rather a mach2,2 plane rather than mach 3 as propaganda said, at least if it wanted to land back one more time…

      • Okay.
        You do you keep comparing the PAK-FA with Eurofighter. The discussion has not been about Eurpfighter or Su-35?
        Another thing I don’t understand is why do you keep comparing the PAK-FA prototypes to Eurofighter production aircraft. Prototypes are by their very nature incomplete, they are built for testing. They lack essential parts of the final aircraft, in some cases the aircraft gets changed completely from prototype to production like it happened with the YF-16 and F-16 or YF-22 and F-22. Also cracks in wings and other malfunctions in prototypes are common as the manufacturing techniques are perfected. Just take a look at the long list of problems with the F-35s, engine failures, engine fires, overweight, cracks all over the place, avionics overheating and leading to engines stopping in mid-fight etc. and those where not even prototypes but pre-production aircraft. The fact that the Indians are using faults in the prototypes to leave the project is just another sign of the incompetence of the Indian military in general and air-force in particular.

      • Internal bays are an essential part of any true stealth fighter; PAk FA protoypes (because it just an xplane like the a12 avenger) has got no one: you can add then later as much you can dd then to rafale and typhoon; it is the design that is seriously compromised; f22 and f35 have been built with internal bays from very start..PAK FA is a technology non dimostrator: it dimostrates what russia cant built ; i take in comparison eurofighter because i know it better than f22, which much data is highly confidential: eurofighter is much more advanced than f22 in materials (70% composites) and missiles ; engines are at least on par with f22: just to let you know IRIS-T wvr missile of many eurocanards in integration nowdays, offers n extremely high success rate in interception of any hostile missile even at 6 hour positon !
        Back to pak fa and prototypes, in each protoype of any plane fuselage must be complete also for aerodinamic testing purpose: PAk FA 2 prototypes have no internal bays; second point : in each flying prototype you can expect electronic failures,which can lead even to destruction of plane: you cnnot expect and you cannot have a crack in fuselage structure, because it turns just in only two options : design is flawed or mettalurgy tachnics are just not there , ore metahllurgu know how is not on par with design expectations….Can you understand this basic ISSUE ANDREi ?

        • I don’t have much to add to what Andrei said; however, PAK FA clearly does have internal weapons bays:

          At least 6 missiles can be carried, possibly eight.

          Further, PAK FA is most likely a demonstrator aircraft or early prototype, more akin to YF-22 than to F-22. There were some major changes between YF-22 and F-22 (cockpit was moved, wing sweep decreased from 48* to 42*, wing trailling edge was redesigned, maybe few others – going by memory here), and it is unlikely that production-model PAK FA will be the same as current one. As I recall it, YF-22 didn’t even have stealth coating. Current PAK FA also uses engines from Su-35, not the more powerful engines that should be avaliable by the time of production.


          It is funny how Americans are blasting me for underestimating American hardware, Russians are accusing me of underestimating Russian hardware and now there’s European saying that I’m underestimating European hardware, even though I haven’t mentioned any of it in the article…that’s what I get for trying to be objective, I guess. Anyway, you really should read other articles on the blog. It is impossible to adress every single issue in every single article, so if you want to better understand my position, you should read most or all articles I have written so far.

      • About prototypes:

        First off all let’s get something straight. I’m an aerospace engineer. For me aircraft are not just a passion but my job, so I understand the basic issues of managing an aircraft design and testing program a little bit better then a dentist. There are a lot of things you obviously don’t understand about fighter aircraft prototypes so let me clear some issues:
        1) Prototypes are not built using the same techniques as production aircraft. Most of the time they are built by hand with experimental techniques that are intended to be used on the assembly line for the production aircraft, but usually the first prototypes are not built even with the same materials as production aircraft let alone using the same standards of quality. This is because of two reasons. Firstly the main objective of the first aircraft prototype testing are to validate the control characteristics of the aircraft, it’s avionics, it’s performance etc. Secondly the factory and production line intended to build the aircraft have not been tooled accordingly, or in some cases even built. Design life of the air-frame, in the prototype stage is not tested in flight, but on the ground on static prototypes build as the production line comes to operation. This differs with national practice, the Americans for example prefer to have the prototype as close as the production aircraft as possible, so their prototypes are very pretty looking, while the Russians prefer to refine the design in parallel to testing, so their prototypes look patched up and slapped together. So cracks appearing prototypes are a common occurrence because the MATERIALS KNOW-HOW IS BEING ACHIEVED IN PARALLEL TO TESTING. Here are two examples from the Japanese F-2 fighter program and F-35 program The intended standard of quality, and hours of life for the airframe is not achieved until the beginning of the pre-production stage, which the PAK-FA is nowhere near close, no matter what Russian officials are declaring. For these reasons using cracks appearing in the first two prototypes as estimation of how the final product will perform is a childish and unprofessional method used only by the Indians to cover their own incompetence.
        2) Prototypes are not equipped in the same way as production aircraft, they usually have different engines and a whole lot of equipment missing such as Radars, sensors or even internal bays :). That dose not mean that the aircraft is not sized to accept that equipment. If the equipment is missing the prototype flies with substitutes, or ballast of the same mass and volume as the missing equipment. Your affirmations that PAK-FA has no internal bay probably stem from the fact that no pictures with the T-50 with internal bays open have appeared on the net. That dose not mean that they are not included in the design, just that they have not been opened in view of the public yet. The following two links are for picture of the T-50s where the CLOSED DOORS of the bays are clearly visible:

        About Eurofighters, IRIS-T, Metor etc.

        You are new on this site. If you would have bothered reading any other articles you would have noticed that Picard and others on the site have a clear respect and admiration for European hardware. The information that you are giving is not new to any of us and was not the subject of this article. This was about F-22 vs. PAK-FA. When Picard will do Rafale/Gripen/Typhoon vs. PAK-FA you will probably be very surprised with his analysis and the fact that the Eurocanards will probably come out on top. 😛

        Cheers, mate. Sorry for the wall of text

      • You are playing very difensive Andrei : but you did not reply at this,that this the core of issue: second point : in each flying prototype you can expect electronic failures,which can lead even to destruction of plane: you cannot expect and you cannot have a crack in fuselage structure, because it turns just in only two options : design is flawed or metallurgy technics are just not there , ore metallurgic know how is not on par with design expectations… ”

        Furthermore russian have declared that after indian refuse on keeping on funding are going to design and build a new engine from zero for Pak Fa rather then using the derivate one from su35….Just this statement is enough to show off that those 2 pak-FA prototypes has been more a technology non dimostrator that dimostrator…( In western world it takes no less then 10 years to build a new engine for a fighter plane…May be russians are dramatically more technology advanced than western countries )

      • Anyway we are discussing a comparison between an existing plane and a not existing one..Typhoon example was just to show how shitty russian engines are: sorry but I dont know exact figures about f22 engines and not many know probably : second similiraty between typhoon ( and in part rafale) and F22 is that both are intended to fight not only bvr but at supersonic speed: rumors about f22 typhoon ecounter at langley in 2006 show that typhoon CTR is much better and using trustvectoring is very risky in a fight scenario as plane loose a lot of kinetic energy; very risky if you want tofight ast high G’s in supersonic bvr engage : russian have nevr built an high manouvrable supersonic plane : typhoon software aerodinamic control took 10 years to be developed…

      • …For all this reasons PAk FA basically is a technologycal not demostrator and a weapon for internal propaganda.

      • @Francesco Ganzetti

        Given that you’ve been wrong about all of your statements so far – the PAK FA does have internal bays (and that isn’t necessarily a good thing), it’s hard to take you very seriously.

        I don’t think the Russians built the PAK FA as a demonstrator, but I don’t think they’ll be able to afford nearly as many as they want either.

      • “You are playing very difensive Andrei : but you did not reply at this,that this the core of issue: second point : in each flying prototype you can expect electronic failures,which can lead even to destruction of plane: you cannot expect and you cannot have a crack in fuselage structure, because it turns just in only two options : design is flawed or metallurgy technics are just not there , ore metallurgic know how is not on par with design expectations… ” ”

        I did reply to the issue you keep pointing at. I even wrote in capital letters:MATERIALS KNOW-HOW IS BEING ACHIEVED IN PARALLEL TO TESTING, and put two links to articles describing similar issues in programs that are either ongoing (F-35) or ended up producing successful aircraft even if cracks appeared in the prototype airframe (the Japanese F-2), hoping you would understand why your argument is flawed. If your command of English is so bad, I can write the reply in Italian, but it will take a little bit longer because even though I speak it well I don’t write it as well.

      • Ok Andrei : “MATERIALS KNOW-HOW IS BEING ACHIEVED IN PARALLEL TO TESTING”..Your words are very explicative…So why dont build a plane in grafene ?!…
        Ok Picard: PAk FA is an early prototype, as you admit..That explains it all…

  4. Indian autorithies refused to waste some other money, (450 milions dollars till now, kinda nothing if serious in this project: they smell the bad deal), also because of the supermassive irst signature as they say, PAK FA design has no measures of IR track concealing..But this is not the core of failures in PAK FA design…

    • F-22 also has huge IR signature, admittedly probably still lot less than PAK FA, but fact is that any IR signature reduction measures on large aircraft like that is akin to putting lipstick on a pig.

      • LIpstick on a pig like on a huge plane like B2 ? Or you really think that f22 IR signature is wider then one of the smallest russian plane , the mig 29 ? PAk Fa is a flawed design for many,many aspects.

        • As far as MiG-29 goes, its IR signature will likely be smaller than F-22s when subsonic, but larger when supersonic, seeing as it cannot supercruise.

          And yes PAK FA is flawed in large number of aspects, but so is F-22. For starters, expecting aircraft to be both stealth and supersonic is inherently flawed assumption, as is assumption that aircraft which are so expensive and hard to maintain can make a significant contribution, or even make up backbone of an air force.

    • Hello everyone, I’ve been reading this blog for a few months, but this is my first post.

      I have to admit that it is Francesco attitude that provoked me. From what we see you are a better expert in designing planes than all the russian scientists, because I bet you have been at the heart of its design process 🙂

      As I see the Eurofighter is your beloved plane, here are some recent news about it (the articles are in french but you can find it in other places as well):

      1. External fuel tank detached on take-off of a german plane – all planes are barred from using them until further notice (
      2. Bad cracks in aft fuselage, so that the building process has been stopped for a year now (the plane has been in service for years)
      3.Germany cancelled the procurement for Tranche 3B planes (37 of them)
      4. 1 billion euros spent for the AESA radar, the program is as of now 5 months late (80M overbudget), the plane still laks many capabilities: ground/naval strike)
      5. Germany alocated 14.7 Billion euros for 180 planes, as of september 2015 it spent 14.5Billion and it has 108 planes in service.
      6. It looks more and more clear that EADS used corruption to sell the EF to AUSTRIA, and the sales in the Middle East are definately using the same pattern.
      7. I can’t find right now the study on the web, but I recently read that less than ONE THIRD of all german EF have enough spare parts to be able to fly at any moment.

      My post is not about Eurofighter bashing, but to show that the wealthiest countries have problems with their latest planes.
      No one should worry about Russian scientists, I bet they know what they do. And you clearly don’t even know what has been publicly studied or released about Pak-Fa.

      Soooo looooong Francesco

      • First two problems may well be due to complexities of producing parts of airframe in different countries – rather low readiness rates are also partly caused by the same problem (and partly because Typhoon is too large and complex – IMO, anything larger and more expensive than Gripen or F-16 is a waste of money). And yes, EADS uses corruption for sales, which frankly is not that different from any other major weapons company (Lockheed Martin is especially bad in this, but SAAB and Dassault have been known to use bribes as well).

      • R Tommy: and so ? ..Just to let you know, we should the compare this hypotetical PAK FA to European stealth, extremely stealth ( also in IR signature) Neuron , which ave been tested with a large range of weapons this summer in Sardinia: it is programmed to fly some kms (50? / 70 ? 90 ? ) km ahead of eurocanards, in datalink with typhoon or rafale; as neuron could be operative much much much sooner than PAK FA (1 year? 2 years? 3 years?)

        Picard, your picture is not very convincing about internal bays: for sure not the external ones..If they are gonna be fitted in central chassis they look narrower then ones on F22 ( Main problem of F22 , a part from lack of true IRST, is tiny bays: they cannot accomodate meteor for example).. PAK FA gonna turn in a domestic political weapon : furthermore nobody has enlighted that stealth is to maximize aggression capabilities: eurofighter is not stealth but just LO and neverthless is amuch better defensive plane then F22.

        • What you are saying about stealth is entirely correct, and I was going to write a post about it someday: all-aspect stealth is only useful for agressive air forces, which intend to fight battles deep inside enemy ADS. F-22 was supposed to attack enemy fighters inside Soviet airspace, and stealth was there to protect it from SAMs. Same goes for PAK FA and all other stealth fighters. Even European nEUROn is intended primarily to deal with enemy air defense systems. But main purpose of stealth aircraft is to secure funding for contractors and increase procurement budgets for air forces; any military considerations are secondary.

          As for internal bays, fact is that PAK FA has them. Only question is the type and number of weapons they can accomodate. I’d say that capacity is four missiles for central bays, though they might be able to squeeze six missiles, depending on exact size of missile and wether they utilize retractable / folding fins.

      • R Picard..So my speculation about very tiny “hypotetical” internal bays is correct, as that PAk FA is a very flawed design…Americans ahad much better chanches to build the a12 avenger back in the 90’s then russian build 10 operative of this horrenodus design…>Furthermore my digression on Neuron is not provocative: its the first ucav design to fight connected with manned planes just in fornt of them: it is gona be lika an extension, the military first arm of the eurocanard..furthermore is extremely stealth and quik for a ucav: my impression is that could be easily a multirole ucav : if can flught with radar off trough data link connection with eurocanard AESA , why should not be fitted with meteor ? Furthermore: do you need tauru skepd35 to disabilitate a sam 400 ? it sounds like and overkill sam 400 is not a fortified bunker….Neuron has kinda unique tactical aspects and is there…Jus need to be financed to be produced in large numbers. I have read that a single eurocanard could operate at least 2 of them.: it could be the true revolution in stealth planes,a s it is anyway much more cheap not only then f22 or f35 or eurocanards, but with an incredible survive rate and cheap manteinance.

      • A 2 eurocanards configuration+4 neuron is much much cheaper in acquisition and manteinance then 4 eurocanards ; furthermore neuron stealth is promised to be higher then f22 (it has already passed stealth tests last year, I mean on field ) and IR stealth enormously improoved so that rather then using expensive air to ground ammuniton like stand off weapons simply jdams should be sufficient even in a high risky aerospace…There is an important way of thinking in western countries that greatly exagerate russian (and not only) military capabilities in order to justify funding and research of extremely sophisticated weapons like neuron…BTW: how many su35 have been built so far not considering the few exportated abroad ? Thx

      • nEUROn was never intended to be built in series, it is a technology demonstrator that allowed Europe not to be too in late. Sweden already said they did not want to go further with nEUROn and France and the UK are already on another equivalent program (besides the ongoing studies for this project will benefit both the Typhoon and Rafale).

      • What are you say xplane ? main contractor of neuron is dassault and it is has already succeed in stealth, avionics Ir signature and many weapons integrations tests; I twas a technology demostrator 3 years ago…

      • The answer is here:
        The technology is now mature and available. That was the goal for the nEURONn program (and the best way to demonstrate that military aviation is an ingeneer’s game, not a political one).
        The next step is FCAS DP (Future Combat Air System Demonstration Program):
        There is only two partners as for now but I guess it could increase quickly if other European countries knock at the door.

  5. “Sorry for another post” : programmed su 35 for internal use should be around 40 from 2012 till 2020 and it is noit clear how many have been built so far and how many are operative…Russia seems specialized in disastrous projects nowdays…Don’t you think that extremely small and unclear number about su35 are predicitive about adding a very immature, very ambitious, very flawed project like the PAK FA ? PAk FA looks like a resource drainer, (if it will be ever be funded properly,as russian autorities last summer, after INDIA refuse to keep funding project, have ufficially scald down the project to 20 prototypes to be built during next 5 years ) ,preventive to keeping operative the rest of his airforce : exactly the opposite of initial purposes..May be they are splitted between theri ambitions and their possibilities, not only from economic point of view..

    • Yeah, there is a lot of that going around, first US F-22 and F-35, then Typhoon, and now Su-35 and PAK FA… Gripen NG also seems to be running into trouble. Program management is really screwed. At least Typhoon and Gripen NG have an excuse of multiple countries and consequent troubles (most of Eurofighter programme delays were political), but others do not, except F-35 to an extent.

      PAK FA seems to me to be mostly a political tool, Russia should have focused on further developing Su-27 platform (Su-30, Su-35).

      • ..Obviously..Even if “further developing su27 platform” sounds almost ironic, even if it was not your intention, as we are speaking about a platform with a gigantic RCS ,very draggy, unuseful in supersonic..KInda a dead binary of ’70 research…May be 40 years ago russian engineers must have tought something similar to this :” we cannot go towards stealth or supersonic aspects of fight, then lets concentrate on WVR capabilities…” Kinda of a suicide politic..Build a multimilion fighter and optimize it for wvr it is just to hope to be able to reach wvr before beeing shoot down in bvr and then, once you may be get wvr, everybody gets killed..( Not considering very advanced chaffs or anti missiles potential of very advanced missile like IRIS -T)…anyway back to program managment F22 numbers are tiny, but still gigantic compared to russian fighters figures or experience acquired for further fighters like f35..F35 succes gonna be the real test, considering numbers and diffusion and importance of the program for many nations…Sorry for beeing so long; have a nice evening.

        • “May be 40 years ago russian engineers must have tought something similar to this :” we cannot go towards stealth or supersonic aspects of fight, then lets concentrate on WVR capabilities…””

          No they did not. In fact, Su-27 is a far saner design than the F-15 or just about any other Western BVR-optimized fighter. Unlike the West, Russians never bought into radar-based BVR combat pipedream, and Su-27 – with its large loadout of BVR missiles, high fuel load and comparatively high agility in WVR fight (albeit still not as good as I’d like) – is very much a perfect BVR fighter concept. But there were major problems with execution, partly due to Russian technological lag.

          And keep in mind that F-15 has equally gigantic RCS, is just as draggy and is incapable of supercruise. But USAF is still keeping them in service, for the same reason why Russia will be keeping Flanker variants – having an all-stealth air force is utterly unrealistic.

          “Build a multimilion fighter and optimize it for wvr it is just to hope to be able to reach wvr before beeing shoot down in bvr and then, once you may be get wvr, everybody gets killed..”

          Not really, as I have explained above.

          “F22 numbers are tiny, but still gigantic compared to russian fighters figures or experience acquired for further fighters like f35..F35 succes gonna be the real test, considering numbers and diffusion and importance of the program for many nations…”

          True, Russians lately seem to be acquiring double-digit number of fighters.

          “Sorry for beeing so long; have a nice evening.”

          Oh, you weren’t long, compared to what comments can be on this site…

      • What’s going on with Gripen NG? First prototype was suposed to fly last summer, wasn’t it? Brasil contract changed the program too much to keep the planning on previous tracks? No fresh technical news from SAAB?

      • I agree when you say that f15 an flankers are not dissimilar; i totally disagree when you say that ” su 27-30is very much a perfect BVR fighter concept.”..Just because it can load many bvr missiles? F15 concept and design is about of mid sixties, when flankers concept is about of late 70’s (15 years gap and they decided for an aerodinamic design specialized for subsonic and very punitive in supersonic !)..15 years of design..Furthermore f15 design and engines are less specialized in wvr and a bit better in supersonic envelope; my bet that mirage 2000-5 is a much better bvr fighter then flankers with modern missiles…It does not make much sense to invest in upgrading flankers in radrs and missiles with they huge rcs and terrible dinamics in supersonic now is a concept of military plane very old.

        • To be effective at BVR, you need a missile truck, regardless of any other characteristics, as radar missiles are relatively easily evaded. If you ignore missiles’ inefficiency and just focus on the platform, then what you say is true, but you can’t do that as ultimately platform is simply there to bring weapons in position for kill. Flankers also have certain advantage in weapons, as the only Western fighter with proper IR BVRAAM is Rafale, and no Western fighter has anti-radiation AAM.

      • R “the only Western fighter with proper IR BVRAAM is Rafale”.true, the MICA, even if its range is not very good beeing a bvr missile in real tests even if it uis sed both in wvr and bvr ;
        R ” Flankers also have certain advantage in weapons” define that pls…For sure we know that current defenses (chaff an decoys) of eurocanards are by far the most advanced in the world, at least before that f35 gonna be in service; after that we know that IRIST is incredible even if just a wvr, and that meteor gonna be a game changer for range and reliability; an intimidatotory weapon if mounted on rafale and even more on typhoon more then the AMRAMM d on f22… “Advantage of flankers in weapons” seems to me a very uncertain issue, at least…

  6. Reagarding MICA, i think thath french aviation gonna be in trouble with the introduction of meteor: MICA is an interesting concept, but looks more an hybrid between a wvr and a bvr and i dont know if meteors plus mica in semi-wvr role configuration gonna be the ideal solution for costs, weight, dimensions issues.

  7. M2000(-5 and soon D for French Air Force, 2000 I and TI for Indian) are/will be able to fire the MICA. On the Rafale, MICA IR on wingtips is part of IR sensors for global awareness and tracking(kind of what US praise to be new and unique on the F-35). METEOR won’t be usefull in that role even if the system is on road to slightly change for the F3R upgrade(2018).

  8. I’d say that so far, the Rafale seems to have been the least problem plagued of the fighter aircraft.

    The NG is now in some trouble, the Eurofighter will always have to deal with politics, and the American designs are unaffordable, as are the Russian ones.

    • Also I get the sinking feeling that the NG Gripen may end up more expensive/less capable than initially promised.

    • Russian designs aren’t that unaffordable (PAK FA excepted) but while their front-up price is typically less than of Western fighters, they tend to be more expensive to operate.

      • And they also tend to have shorter service lives for both their air-frames (3000h compared to 6000h for Western fighters) and engines (around 2000h compared to 4000+ sometimes even around 8000h for Western fighters), which might be an explanation of the lower price: pay half what a western fighter costs and use it for 10-15years instead of 20-30. The Su-30MKI is an example, bought in the early 2000s they are now showing signs of having reached the end of their service lives and needing either replacement or a very expensive extension of service life.

      • Even the SU30MKI is aging in airframe ?…I know that a bunch of 16 are grounded from last year, but I have read also that all russian mig29 are not operative and grounded after 4 of them crashed last year…Tornado is still operative and running…

      • I was referring to the PAK FA for the unaffordable part.

        It’d be interesting to see how much the F-22 and F-35 cost to operate. My guess is they probably will cost more than most Russian fighters and very likely the PAK FA as well. I do not expect at this point the F-35 will be any cheaper than the F-22.

        • F-35s operating cost will be somewhat lower than F-22s due to the F-35 being a single-engined fighter, but not much as even in F-22, most of the operating cost is avionics and stealth coating. Seeing how F-18 costs some 16.000 USD per flight hour compared to 7.000 USD for F-16, F-35s direct operating cost might be anywhere between 20.000 USD and 40.000 USD, likely closer to the upper estimate.

      • R Altandmain : some american military voices are complaining about the low flight hours per months that F22 can achieve: 10 per months ; nothing new ; F22 is by default a silver bullet : it designed to shoot down any soviet plane past, present and future, doing this quietly, even above moscow, or disabiltating sam batteries in Russia; any other use is a waste of money. By far the best modern plane in operativity and effectivness and costs is the F18 E/F; russian planes are by far the worst ; I have no elements about typhoon but engines have excpetional lifespan and require very low maintenance, better then any other military plane, but engines are not everything…PS : do not take in comparison PAk FA: it will be never be built most likely, if it will be evr built is gonna happen in ridiculous numbers , ( no more then 20 considering that russia has planned to built 40 su35 and more then 20 are still to be build form here to 2020…),any flying pak fa will be a flawed plane by default…If you desire the complete wreck of russian military plane you can wish that a bunch of flying prototypes will be really bilt..In the main time the neuron ucav is looking for funding and political approovement and the Pentagon is deciding the basic figures of F22 successor in order to set up proper auction beetween usual companies…When you loose 10 years in military research you are out for ever:you cannot catch up; this happened in Russia at end of 70ies at least…

      • The second argument provided by General Gocuł dealt with the operative costs associated with the F-16: the MiG-29 is cheaper to operate than the Fighting Falcons hence, deploying the Fulcrums is a way for not burdening the taxpayers. Apparently, cost of one flight hour of the MiG-29, according to various sources (exact data is unknown), is shaped at around €4,837.02 (5,500 ). In case of the F-16 the amount is as much as 7,700

        Could it be that US contractors are inflating the price? Which would mean that all US warplanes are much more expensive to operate simply because of contractors greed. Another matter could be F-16 requires parts and repairs sent to LM in US further jacking up the price whereas MiG has facilities in Poland
        Russians have switched to western type of maintenance thus newer planes have HUMS ,ondemand maintenance this can mix up cards too

        IMO in terms of maintenance F-16 is tool to scam money out of customer whereas Mig-29A is still war machine

        • “Could it be that US contractors are inflating the price? Which would mean that all US warplanes are much more expensive to operate simply because of contractors greed.”

          That likely is a factor.

          “F-16 is tool to scam money out of customer whereas Mig-29A is still war machine”

          Not really. F-16 has some significant shortcomings in war fighting context (namely, being limited to easily destroyed air bases) but so does the MiG-29 (primarily human-machine interface). F-16 is also significantly cheaper to operate and easier to maintain than any other US fighter in service. Overall, I’d say that Gripen is the world’s best fighter, as it has the best characteristics of both Western and Russian fighter aircraft (easy to maintain, rugged, reliable, can fly from nearly anywhere, low operating cost, excellent human-machine interface).

      • @Francesco Ganzetti

        The F-18 Super Hornet variants are bomb trucks more or less.

        – Originally the YF-17, the loser of the competition compared to the YF-16
        – They took the inferior plane and turned it into the F-18, which was even worse
        – Then the Super Hornet was even less maneuverable (it also suffered from a wing drop issue that they never really solved)

        Had they taken the YF-16 and built a modern successor, they would have ended up with a pretty good design.


        Between the two, I’d lean towards the Rafale, but it’s an interesting debate for sure. Rafale’s main flaw is that it will struggle off air bases logistically.

        I mean neither compares to the FLX, but it’s a fascinating question.


    That’s why frontal rcs of pak-fa, if will be ver be built, will be no inferior to one of eurocanards and lateral and back one will be huge even compared to eurocanards
    Russian autorities say that new engine prototype will be ready for testring, and i say testing, not before 2018…(if India will ever give them some milliard dollard for free,considering all technical flaws of project)

  10. Fuethermore in air to air configuration , using recessed misiles eurocanards manage to keep rcs well below 1 sqaure metre: pak fa with a modest external carriage will rsesemble other sukhoys rcs

  11. Pak Fa on the edge of being cancelled and remain an x project ?

    Source: Russian Defense Ministry: On the end of March 2015 (strange that no one has reported on this thread)

    By 2020 pak fa scheduled production number will no longer be 52 but just 12, and most importantly it will also serve as test aircraft! The official reason is that they must first be produced and 15 SU35 5 su30sm2 …May be Russians have realized that aircraft, if will ever be operative ,gonna be be a jumble of contradictions and techniquesnot effective in a real war scenario; terzium not datur, as the economic crisis would suggest leave behind more suhkois (as from January 2015 all mig 29 Russians were declared non-operating) and investing in a new promising project itself with technical benefits.

    At same time, a few days ago ……-in-2018_547005

    From here we learn that the new engine will be ready for testing, (only testing !), not before end of 2018, and the Indians are really unhappy that bench tests are not possible in the meanwhile; furthermore Indians assert that only the new engine could ensure supercruise, and that current upgraded engine in use on prototypes, AL-41F1, is not quite able to do it; it adds that the potential interest of India in buying pak fa has fall down to just 3 squadrons (36 aircraft), and more importantly India is not more interested in building them together with Russia but wants them already operative. .. (Always the same price and always with higher specifications possible internal Russian version !)…the-t-50_397177

    From April also India closed its negotiations with Russia on the aircraft (does not want to know anything more!) Http: //…40200031_1.html
    Recall that the price target of $ 100 million , based on which India has funded the initial research and development, was accessible only by producing at least 500 pak fa for export mainly in India ..

    To you the conclusions …

  12. Explosive new:

    Russia so desperate that is ready to sell the pak fa project: may be because it is admitting that it is not that good and most of all produces no advantages in research for the rest of airfleet…

  13. hello, very interesting as always. One question if the use of radar puts the F22 at a disadvantage against the T50, has of the F35 against the Rafale, the F22 is different from the F35 because it’s radar is LPI. Therefore the use of radar is an option for the F22 against the T50 and the anti radiation missile, no?
    also what are “DRFM” and how can they jam without radiation ?

    • No, F-22 is no different from F-35 in that regard. F-22, F-35, Gripen, Rafale, Typhoon, even US teen-series fighters, they all have radars which incorporate LPI techniques of different degrees of advancement. Most of them are receiving or already have AESA radars, which are the latest advancement in LPI technologies, but LPI itself is nothing new or unusual. As I recall it, even Germans during World War II had (ground) radars which used certain LPI techniques such as frequency hopping. So even for F-22, using its radar is not a great idea.

      DRFM does not “jam without radiation”. DRFM stands for “digital radio frequency memory”. In short it records the radar’s signal, analyzes it, modifies it and then transmits it back. As radar is incapable of distinguishing between actual return and jammer’s duplicate, it receives false information, which translates into missile receiving false information, and hence missing.

  14. @Picard578
    im using your site as my primary source of infomation and sending American Patriots and Fanboys your way so u can enlighten them
    however as you could imagine there Arrogance will be apparent

  15. hi @picard578 what do you think of this



  1. Comparing modern Western fighters « Defense Issues

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