Moscow Swears Everything Is Fine

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Russia’s all-but-cancelled T-50 PAK-FA stealth fighter is just super, apparently:

The head of the Russian air force recently announced that their new “5th generation” T-50 (or PAK-FA) stealth fighter was passing all its flight tests and was now expected to enter service in 2017. This is surprising because in March Russia announced that they were reducing the number of production T-50s to be built by the end of the decade from 52 to 12. Russia already has five development models of the T-50 flying, although one was damaged in a fire. The Russian announcement did not cover specific reasons for the change. But Indian Air Force officials have been criticizing the progress of the T-50 program for over a year. This aircraft is the Russian answer to the U.S. F-22 and according to the Indians, who have contributed $300 million (so far) to development of the T-50, they are entitled by the 2007 agreement with Russian to have access to technical details. The Russians were accused to refusing to provide development updates as often and in as much detail the Indians expected.

Unless India calms down or Russia changes its mind again about procuring a decent number of T-50s, then don’t believe the denials.

Building a fifth-generation jet is hard, and Russia is still two decades behind us.