Why is the project T-50 (PAK FA) ’bogged down’ and is often postponed?

This is not the first time the launch of Russia’s T-50 (PAK FA) fifth generation jet fighter has been postponed. Designers and senior officials at the Russian Defense Ministry originally gave 2016 as the year when the new aircraft would go into service, but now the deadline has been postponed indefinitely.

On Feb. 2, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said that as long as there were similar aircraft that meet the requirements of the Armed Forces, there is no need to waste money on purchasing expensive new hardware.

“Most likely this will only happen in the next State Armament Program for 2018-2025,” said Borisov, adding that the T-50 still needs to be perfected.

Experts said it’s wrong to say that the T-50 is “bogged down” because developing an aircraft gradually in stages is common practice. “There have been misleading stories in the media, but the project is not bogged down,” said Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of the magazine, Arsenal Otechestva. “All stages of work on the aircraft are on schedule.”

The designers are working on a new fifth generation engine, Izdeliye-30 [Product-30], in order for the fighter to meet all the challenges of the new era. Flight tests of the new engine will start at the end of 2017, or in early 2018. “It will take the designers another two or three years to finalize the project before the aircraft goes into series production and into service with the Russian Air Force,” said Murakhovsky.