Global Insights: Does Russia Have a Fifth-Generation Fighter?

On Jan. 29, a Russian pilot conducted a test flight of the first warplane entirely designed and built by Russian companies since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The plane, formally known as the Prospective Aircraft Complex of Frontline Aviation (PAK FA), is manufactured by the state-owned Sukhoi aircraft corporation. Russian sources describe the PAK FA as the first fifth-generation multi-role fighter/attack warplane built outside the United States, but some analysts doubt it meets that category’s criteria. “Fifth-generation” warplanes have stealth characteristics, making them almost invisible to conventional radars. These attributes include using composite materials, emitting reduced engine heat, and […]

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