Rostec, the state-owned company that controls Russia’s most important technology companies, has denied claims by the National Interest website that the Su-57 fighter plane will not actually go into production until 2027.
“Over 70 aircraft will be delivered by 2027, including several fighters this year,” the company said in a statement released by TASS on Friday.
“The Russian fifth-generation planes do not make the West feel easy. Su-57 and Checkmate fighters regularly become the focus of fake news. Untrue facts that there is nothing to do with reality is published. The plane is already being serial-produced and delivered!” added Rostec.
According to the Russian government, the Air Force will receive 22 Sukhoi Su-57 fighters by 2024 and a total of 76 aircraft will be operational by 2028. The first series-production stealth jet was delivered in late 2020, according to the UAC, holding responsible for aerospace manufacturers in the country.
“The Su-57 program was never really viable”
The article that angered Rostec was written by War Is Boring, the website of journalist David Axe, known for having published in 2015 a report by an F-35 pilot who claimed not to be able to beat an F-16 in aerial combat.
The article about the Su-57 was originally published in 2017, when it said that the 5th gen fighter program would be unfeasible due to Russian budget constraints. The main problem involved the lack of a more efficient engine, which would only be available in 2027.
Only then would it be possible to produce the aircraft in more relevant volumes. “Over the next eight years, Russia will continue to purchase small numbers of these planes for testing,” an analyst told the site.
War is Boring also points to the restructuring of the aerospace industry as one of the reasons for the supposed failure. The creation of UAC was called a “lame duck” for its inability to organize as many different groups as Sukhoi and MiG.
“No matter how large or populated, a country with GDP comparable to that of Australia cannot afford to play at being a superpower, fight a protracted war in Syria and develop its own stealth fighter,” the article stated.
For the authors, the Su-57 would be just a Kremlin propaganda in order to give the impression that Russia has a rival worthy of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
India’s withdrawal from being a partner in the Felon project, as the fighter is called, is seen as proof that something is wrong.