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Su-57

MA4585159 November 26, 2011 User blog:MA4585159
Su-27KM

To think that the Soviet Navy ordered the thing in the 80's...

Sukhoi Su-57

Nemo me impune lacessit

No-one provokes me with impunity

- apparent motto of Scotland

Pure air superiority fighter, designed for mobility and close-range combat capability.

NAJSA reporting name: Firkin

Locomotion: STOL-Carrier

Squad size: 4 craft

Special abilities:

  • Go Active - in many missions, passive sensors are quite sufficient for both target acquisition and engagement, especially when there is a unit with "Go Dark" providing guidance. Fighters, bombers and submarines alike prefer to keep their sonars and radars off until they need them.
  • Afterburner - massive speed boost at the cost of range remaining.

History

Su-57 is the first of Gen 5+ fighters. Detractors, however, claim it's “Gen 5-”, and it is. After F-22 saw a very limited production run, F-35 killed a test pilot in a crash thanks to its "fueldrawlics" catching fire (congrats on screwing up where the Soviets didn't) and got dumped, and Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA became a revolving door of delays and unmet requirements amidst an economic stagnation (don't look at me that way, RosStat, qualitatively we're stagnating) caused it to get dumped as well. Militaries ended up looking for either Gen 4+++ overhauls or affordable versions of Gen 5, created by cutting corners and lowering requirements.

Su-57 is one of these designs. Compared to the original PAK-FA it sacrifices the high-upkeep RAM coating, and uses a less stable but more radically effective forward-swept canard wing, as well as previous-generation engines, but an extremely advanced fly-by-wire, modern electronic systems, second-generation optronic targeting, armour plating and integral signature reduction measures.

Using off-the-shelf technology has helped to go from project order to a flyable prototype in under 400 days. It took F-22 16 years. Perhaps the only innovative technology can be found in its wings – Su-57 is literally the only Russian product which uses carbon nanotube reinforcement to solve the issue of forward-swept wings being either fragile or insufficiently stiff.

Su-57 is built from the prepositions that, firstly, multi-role fighters are more expensive yet less effective in each role and do not increase the fighting ability of a sufficiently large and varied force; hence Su-57 lacks air-to-surface optronics and fire control programming for anything more sophisticated than unguided bombs. Secondly, modern stealth aircraft mean that increasingly expensive long-range weapons are becoming decreasingly effective, so it may be cheap but effective to use an old-school gun, especially when nobody expects it anymore.

Sensors

A fighter designed to be affordable, Su-57 borrows the electronic suites of modernised Su-27 family off-shots: N035 Irbis-E passive electronically scanned array, OEPS-29 passive optronic sensor, an infrared tail-mounted missile sensor, and L-150 passive radar.

  1. Rear Hemisphere Attack Warning System – rear-facing radar.
  2. All-Around Optronic System – from one sensor to four.
  3. Side radars – two phased arrays to increase angular coverage and stop moving the primary antenna.
  4. LPI AESA radars – to clarify, the primary is X-band but the sides have the L-band, just to keep enemy stealth aircraft designers on their toes.
  5. Attack LADAR – short-range high-resolution sensor linked directly to the gun’s fire-control system.

Armament

Integral

A single-barrel GSh-30-1, firing precise 5-round bursts of 30 mm 9-A-4002 HEI shells at 1500 RPM, with 500 shells in the magazine and 700 cm3 of alcohol in the liquid cooling sleeve; dedicated internal bay for two R-73 infrared-guided missiles with off-boresight helmet-mounted targeting.

  1. AP-Tracer rounds – 1-in-3 load in case one ever runs into a Razorback.
  2. R-73M - 60° off-boresight seeker and countercountermeasure algorythms.
  3. GSh-30-2 – with two barrels, twice the rate of fire, twice the weight, and a huge ammo magazine, it is perhaps the heaviest gun ever mounted on a fighter. Borrowed from the Su-25.
  4. Directed heavy warhead – 20 kg warhead with eight-point directed ignition.
  5. Flak shells – proximity-detonated HE-Frag shells, 2-in-3 load, compensate for inaccurate targeting.

Loadouts

The primary bomb bay houses up to 8 units of ordnance on multipurpose hardpoints (two bays, four hardpoints – an arrangement inherited from T-50). Su-57 also has two hardpoints on immobile wing sections, compatible with advanced low-signature electronic pods or external fuel tanks; additionally, the folding wing sections have four conventional weapon hardpoints, using which does take away stealth.

Air Superiority

For approaching into range where even stealth fighters can be tracked, and shooting them to death. Starting load-out, and for starters we throw in a full load of R-73s.

  1. R-77M – internal-mounting-compatible active radar-guided missile, a.k.a. “Amraamski”.
  2. Strike Fuel Tanks – two external semi-conforming fuel tanks made entirely of radar-transparent materials, to increase effective range and/or afterburner time available. Cannot be dropped off, but are comparatively unobtrusive.
  3. RVV-AE-PD – ramjet-equipped R-77 variant with improved range.
  4. Coordinated Launch – the squadron opens up with a salvo of 16 missiles from the rear bays, hitting exactly 16 targets thanks to FiConSys coordination.
  5. Radar-infrared seeker block – using both seeker types maximizes resistance to countermeasures.
  6. Thermobaric warhead – excellent splash damage, high structural damage, destroys stealth coating.
Interception

Although attacking fighters at long range is considered a "dead number", attacking high-priority targets at long range is very effective. For starters, the bomb bays are filled up with 8 modernized R-27R semi-active missiles.

  1. R-37 – the Phoenix to R-27’s Sparrow. Thrice the range, inertial command guidance with terminal semi-active/active guidance; the targeting data can come from any number of sources and this load-out focuses on increasing that number, whereas R-27 required the aircraft to illuminate the target with an active radar, constantly.
  2. Targeting Downlink – mounted under the left wing is a small pod housing a Ku-band antenna that allows direct data exchange with air, ground and naval radar stations.
  3. Armour-piercing triple warhead – 20 kg kinetic delay-detonated submunitions designed to kill large aircraft.
  4. Passive Radar Pod – mounted under the right wing, it can detect active aircraft radars at 600-800 km, and to hell with the LPI.
  5. Passive Radar Seeker – designed to target jammers, AEW&C and other high-value targets, turning Su-57 into a suppression unit of sorts.
  6. RVV-BD – two-stage SCRamjet-equipped 400 km variant.
  7. Full Load – ignores the issues of external weapon mounts and adds 4 more missiles on external hardpoints, with all the associated limitations on range, speed, mobility and stealth.
Supporting Escort

Once you seem to run out of aerial targets, you should purchase this package. It fills up the front bay bay with 4 of mid-range missiles from the Air Superiority loadout in case some straggler chooses to challenge your air superiority, and the other half is filled with 4 FAB-500 HE bombs. Su-57 is noticeably short on ground-attack sensors but its FiConSys can process and display bomb ballistic arcs.

  1. FLIR pod – very handy for actually seeing the target.
  2. KAB-500C – essentially the indigenous equivalent of a 1000-pounder with the JDAM kit.
  3. Laser designator pod – grants an LTD system, and converts to KAB-500L.
  4. Kh-38MLE – laser-guided tactical missile. Half the raw power, but four times the range.

Protection

Originally, Su-57 was supposed to include an armoured escape pod, but it has been scrapped since then.

Stealth

As mentioned before, XXth century RAM coating wore off after 2-3 sorties unless constantly maintained, and the pre-Second Cold War B-2 Variants required climate-controlled hangars.

SU-57 is built with low radar cross-section in mind. Also, like all Russian aircraft, it is coloured in camouflage patterns.

  1. RAM coating – causes maintenance time and costs to skyrocket, which is why we suggest…
  2. Improved Ram coating – not a major improvement, but much less maintenance-intensive.

Countermeasures

Like Su-27 and F-15, Su-57s are commissioned without an on-board jammer, leaving it with 50 chaff-flare bundles, but there are power outlets, control buses and empty compartments for one, and then some gadgets.

  1. Radar-band jammer
  2. Advanced broadband jammer
  3. Towed tactical decoy

Armour

Su-57 is built with several 10 mm titanium plates covering the cockpit and engines.

  1. Bomb Bay Fire Suppression
  2. Ceramic plating
  3. Increased coverage plating

Mobility

Su-57 has an array of boosted NPO “Saturn” AL-31 two-contour turbofan engines with afterburner chambers and two-dimensional thrust vectoring. Its aerodynamics aren’t called “supermanoeuvrability” for nothing, and the Russian Air Force has a truly vicious g-force conditioning program that allows the pilots to take advantage of that mobility.

Su-57’s range is boosted by a receptacle to a probe-and-drogue aerial refuelling system and its attendant Kurs docking system.

As a carrier-ready aircraft, it is outfitted with an arrestor wire hook and forward-upward folding wings that make it much easier to store it in reinforced hangars as well.

  1. Advanced Stability Management
  2. AL-41F1 – supercruise and three-dimensional thrust vectoring included.

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