The design of a new Russian single-engine light fighter sparked new rumors last week. The aircraft, still unpublished, is being developed by Sukhoi and will use several technologies present in the twin-engine Su-57, currently in production.
According to a Rostec source informed TASS, the new fighter, as yet unnamed, will have an engine with thrust vectoring and the ability to reach Mach 2.
The aircraft could also be manned or remotely controlled, the agency insider said. As expected, the fighter will also have stealth capability, but it should belong to the 5th generation – unlike Europeans and the US that are already working on 6th gen projects today.
Lack of resources
The development of a single-engine fighter, however, has generated skepticism among Western observers as Russia is struggling to carry out the Su-57 program and still has an even more ambitious program underway, the stealth bomber PAK DA.
The Russian Air Force has also expressed its desire to have only twin-engine fighters for some time. The last single-engine aircraft was the MiG-23/27, still during the Soviet Union.
The future Sukhoi fighter, if it materializes, could be a cheaper reequipment option, however. In addition, it is important to consider the export potential that a jet of this size would have.
Although a new light fighter in Russia is already being considered, the matter gained further evidence late last year when Rostec chief Sergei Chemezov acknowledged that there was a project being developed in this direction.
At the time, an image of Chemezov drew attention by showing part of a mockup of an unknown fighter on his desk.