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Will the Su-57 protect itself in an air?

At the MAKS-2019 salon briefing that ended in Zhukovsky salon near Moscow, which Boris Obnosov, general director of the Tactical Missile Weapons Corporation (KTRV), answered journalists’ questions about the activities of the corporation. He also spoke about the development trends of tactical weapons. That is, missiles, bombs, torpedoes. They are, in fact, global.


Everyone is striving to increase range, increase accuracy and noise immunity, and reduce weight and dimensions. There is one more important criterion – “cost / effectiveness”. And here at KTRV everything is all right. Expensive weapons include precision missiles. So, the latest modification of the anti-ship missile X-35, weighing 600 kg, costs several tens of millions of rubles. However, it affects ships with a displacement of up to 5000 tons with a probability of 0.7-0.8. The cost of such ships can reach a billion or more dollars. Moreover, ships of this displacement account for 70% -80% of the surface fleet. Here is such a visual arithmetic.


However, it would be much more interesting to learn, so to speak, firsthand about the situation with missile weapons for the fifth-generation fighter Su-57. Because on this account there is the most conflicting information.


Some people assure us that everything is fine here. That 14 fundamentally new, specially created for this aircraft, missiles and bombs are almost ready. However, for the most part, these products are classified. A year ago, Obnosov told Interfax that the creation of missiles for the Su-57 was on schedule. A month later, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov confirmed this, saying that everything was normal with intra-body rockets.


But there are absolutely opposite statements, such as “everything is lost.” One gets the feeling that some officials express this in a state of intense emotional excitement as a result of a conflict that arose with officials from other departments. For example, Sergei Dronov, deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces, said in mid-August on Ekho Moskvy that the Su-57 missiles had not even been developed yet. And in the best case, the “missile” OCD will start next year.


One thing is certain that the X-35U anti-ship missile, which the KTRV head mentions in each of his official statements, will be on the Su-57. True, it is not entirely new, it is a deep modernization of the existing rocket. The designers managed to double its range, bringing it to 260 km, while maintaining the previous dimensions and mass of the warhead. The target capture range has also been increased to 50 km. One of the advantages of this rocket is its flight at a height of 3-4 meters above the surface of the sea.


Another “guaranteed” missile is the Kh-59MK2. This is a medium-range air-to-surface missile built using stealth technology. Its range reaches 500 km, the probable circular deviation is 3-5 meters. This is the only missile, the launch of which from the Su-57 in Syria was demonstrated on the video of the Ministry of Defense.


As for the air-to-air missiles, then Obnosov made a sensational statement during the briefing. Or just a slip of the tongue. “Everyone knows” that a long-range missile — the RVV DB or the R-37M — can fly 300 kilometers. The head of KTRV said that its range is 200 kilometers. However, this should be understood as the range of the export modification of the rocket.


R-37M, indeed, has the largest range in the world among missiles of this class. And she has a record speed of 6 M.


But the medium-range air-to-air missile may not be in time for the deadline. And it will appear later, when the release of the first batch of 76 Su-57 fighters begins. This is K-77M, having the factory designation “Product 180”. Now the rocket is being tested. Experts, comparing the K-77M with the latest American missile AIM-120D, note not only a large flight range, but also an increased ability to maneuver.


In the field of short-range air-to-air missiles, an interesting competition is also planned with the American AIM-9X Sidewinder missile. We have a deep modernization of the R-73 – RVV MD. The advantage of the “Russian guy” is the highest maneuverability, it can withstand overloads of 40 g. This is largely achieved through the use of not only aerodynamic, but also gas-dynamic rudders.


But regarding the GOS for the RVV MD, nothing is known. But it is well known that the “American” has complete order here – there is a matrix of 128 × 128 infrared photodetectors. This significantly increases the noise immunity of the rocket. Let’s hope that KTRV was able to master such a technology.


Missiles that can be used as part of the Su-57 weapons also include the X-58UShKE (TP) anti-radar missile, which can hit not only radars, but also ground targets that do not emit radio waves; X-38 universal supersonic short-range missile, which can be used against targets of various types – ground, surface and underwater.


Recently, the Su-57 was demonstrated in flight with a Kinjal hypersonic missile on an external sling. Thus, this fighter became the second carrier of this formidable weapon after the MiG-31K, to which the enemy’s missile defense is not able to respond.

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