Wire: Russia Unveils Top Secret New Fighter
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2010 -- Newswire services this morning reported that Russia on Friday unveiled a new fighter aircraft touted as a rival of the U.S. F-22 and developed amid secrecy as part of a plan to modernize their armed forces.
The French news agency AFP said the fifth generation fighter, manufactured by the Sukhoi company and known as the PAK FA, made a maiden flight of just over 45 minutes at the firm's home base of Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Far East region.
"The flight lasted 47 minutes during which all the aircraft's systems were tested. It was successful," Sukhoi spokeswoman Olga Kayukova told AFP. "This is the first time it has been unveiled."See link below for image, additional details.
Pictures broadcast on state television showed the fighter jet -- which has been kept closely under wraps for years -- flying at altitude and then landing on a snow-surrounded runway.
"The aircraft performed well in all stages of the flight programme. It is easy and comfortable to pilot," said Sergei Bogdan, the pilot for the flight, in comments published on the Sukhoi website.
The new jet has the capability of carrying out long flights above the speed of sound as well as simultaneously attacking different targets.
Russia is currently embarking on a major programme to re-equip its military, not least the air force which is still using largely Soviet-era equipment and suffers from frequent crashes.
The new fighter, which has been in development since the 1990s, is due to enter the armed forces in 2015, Russian news agencies said.
(Report from newswire sources.)
Source: Russia unveils top secret new fighter