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December 12, 2017

STEALTH IS HARD; CLEAN CORPORATE CULTURE IS HARDER: Russia’s Su-57 Stealth Fighter Is Doomed to Fail.

Westerns analysts have concluded that Russia’s fifth-generation Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter is unlikely to enter operational service before 2027. Postponements, cost-overruns and research and development-related problems mar the project.

This should come as no surprise. The Su-57 program was never really viable.

Back in early 2006, Russian president Vladimir Putin integrated all of Russia’s aviation companies into a single, state-owned holding — the United Aircraft-building Corporation.

Despite bombastic reports in the Russian media, UAC turned out to be a lame duck. The conglomerate proved capable of re-launching production of types designed back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Otherwise, UAC is incapable of innovation and adaptation.

The main reason is that most of UAC’s directors are hand-picked yes-sayers — people more than happy to discuss planning, strategies and new projects, but lacking the ability to make hard decisions.

The writing was on the wall when Moscow cut its order to a purely ceremonial number of jets. Even India, which has plenty of experience getting adequate results out of a corrupt procurement system, wants to pull out as Russia’s Su-57 development partner.