First known Russian stealth fighter, the Sukhoi Su-57 had one of its few units involved in an accident on December 24. A test aircraft went into an unrecoverable dive and its pilot ejected safely.
The accident occurred in the Khabarovsk forest region in the far east of the country, near the border with China. According to TASS, “The fighter jet crashed in taiga forest, far from Komsomolsk-on-Amur, during trials. The pilot ejected,” said a city administration official.
The Su-57 was testing at an altitude of 8,000 meters and would have failed the control system into a spiral dive. At about 2,000 meters, the pilot decided to eject.
The information, however, is conflicting. It was claimed that the crashed unit was not part of the squadron that is active in the Russian Air Force while other Russian sources said it was the first serial aircraft.
Rumors also pointed to engine problems that would be part of the tests, but there was no confirmation. United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) told the news agency that a special commission was set up to investigate the causes of the crash.
Russian 5th gen fighter
The Su-57 Felon is Russia’s first 5th generation fighter and has gone through a long period of development. Prior to this accident, one of the prototypes, called the T-50, had a fire in one of the engines in 2014 that seriously affected it.
Lacking enough resources to produce it, Russia incorporated part of the prototypes into a first squad, but announced a new order of 12 fighters last year. In July, production was started by Sukhoi, months after President Vladimir Putin announced that the country plans to have 76 units in the future.