Slug71 wrote:Dutchy wrote:Slug71 wrote:
Russia only planned to build an initial 12 and left the door open to more. Possibly up to 48 IIRC. But there was no firm plans to go beyond the initial 12 as yet.
Are you telling me that the Russians planned to build only 12 and developed an aircraft for that? You build a fighter with the prospects of at least 200-400 a/c or 500 or 1.000, not 12, that is plain ridiculous. Far too expensive to do it like this. No there is something seriously wrong here and it aint the official Russian propaganda.
Russia significantly cut their order several times, down to just 12. Then only 12 were purchased. Beyond that there has been no indication that they WOULD buy more, other than what they "envisioned". I've always thought that it would be dependent on the India deal materializing.
Russia is also facing additional sanctions which is going to pinch the wallet. I don't think the program is over though.
I think the project is just paused for now while the study extensive design changes. Too big for the "update as you go" approach they seem to have, and likely also due to data analysis. Or no responsibility to please a "partner".
Too many variables. I don't question their ability though.
I wouldn't be too surprised to see a heavily updated version roll out in a few years. Possibly even two versions. Lowering(/enlarging) the weapons bay level with the bottom of the engines, would significantly increase the volume of the weapons bay. Good bay for a fighter bomber/strike fighter.
Eventually the Su-34 will need replacing too.
You're not seeing clearly my friend.
Russia has 12 or so flying prototypes that were NEVER meant to be combat ready. If you do some research, you'll see that the initial procurement for the aircraft was estimated at over 150, plus more for India. That number was steadily reduced till (for some bizarre and pointless reason) they decided to order 12.
FWIW they've subsequently said that it "doesn't make sense to develop the aircraft at this time" - implying that there will never be 12 aircraft delivered, which is fairly obvious as it would be TOTALLY pointless to spend the absurd amount of money required to finalize the weapons systems, avionics, engines, and flight testing phases for a dozen aircraft.
That's like saying the US spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the JSF program early on, just to see their 13 initial prototypes get into the air. Then they were going to re-evaluate and see if anyone really wanted the thing.
There's NO other way to spin these developments (or what many have been saying about the PAK-FA program from the beginning) - the entire program was massively over-ambitious and speaks to a huge degree of arrogance by the Russian govt and Sukhoi in thinking that it would be easy to slap together an F-22-killer two decades after the "Yanks" did it.
This WAS Russia's "next generation" air superiority fighter program, there's no other way to slice it. The program is now over. As others have said, you can't shelve these types of things for later - if they don't have the money now, they won't in the future, and by then technology will have changed to the point of making the system obsolete (which stealth-wise, I thought it was from the start). As I mentioned before, I think everything else beyond this point will be unmanned - that's the type of system which would better suite Russia's requirements and specialties/industry anyways, and would be far cheaper to procure, maintain, etc - while lasting long into the future.