A photo of the concept of the newest Russian light fighter has appeared on the IZ.ru newspaper.
According to iz.ru, the Russian military was interested in developing a light combat fighter, a photograph appeared on the web that allegedly is a concept for a new Russian combat aircraft.
The concept of the fighter is quite reminiscent of European combat aircraft, however, there are also features inherent mainly in the American military aircraft such as verticle tail fin allegedly reassembles Super Hornet.
Although Gripen E is a high-end combat aircraft, Russia plans to build a lighter combat aircraft based on delta-canard design of European origin.
European military aircraft designers tend to prefer delta designs, dating back to the original Mirage, and even the Vulcan bomber, whose design was actually begun in WW2.
The other two major makers of military aircraft, the US and the USSR/Russia, don’t tend to use delta wings. Rare exceptions were the hybrid delta with the tail design of the MIG 21, the North American XB-70, and most recently, the Boeing X-32JSF entry, which was changed to a tail design late in the competition due to Navy requirements. The last operational delta fighter in the US inventory was the F106 interceptor.
Why do European military aircraft designers prefer the delta wing?
The nature of the potential conflict plays a role in military aircraft design. European military aircraft, certainly in the past, were designed for fast sprints over relatively short distances where the delta’s supersonic characteristics are a benefit, as in a NATO/Warsaw Pact conflict in Germany.
Russian and American aircraft are designed with longer distance conflicts in mind, where a good deal of the flying is at high subsonic speed, and the lower drag of the conventional wing reduces the need for refuelling while in transit.
In the presented photograph of Russian concept aircraft, you can see that most of the structure of the combat aircraft resembles that of the Saab Gripen fighter, however, the fighter has a different design of the tail unit similar to American Super Hornet fighters, which is supposed to make the aircraft more stable in flight and will probably give it more manoeuvrability.
Why Russia Changed Design?
At the moment, Russia is considering a conceptual version of a combat aircraft which the design of a fighter can receive drastic changes, however, today it is one of the most rational variants of a combat aircraft design Russia ever did. Russian fighter jets have inherently high radar cross-sections and low aerodynamic capability in WVR combat, a delta-wing with canard will help achieve a proven result similar to Rafale and Gripen fighters.
MiG-29 and MiG-35 (AKA MiG-29M2) is a hard sale product in fighter jets market. Russia is facing stiff competition in international fighters market from Lockheed Martin, Saab, KAI and Dessault Aviation losing aircraft deal to KAI, Lockheed Martin, Dassault Aviation and Boeing, recently Russia lost substantial contracts in India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Malaysia, an alternative design which can compete with South Korean FA-50, JF-17 and Italian M-346FA would allow JSC Rosoboronexport to sale some aircraft in Southeast Asia.
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has not yet commented on the development and construction of light fighters for the needs of the Russian Aerospace Forces, however, VKS observed Nagorno-karabakh conflict and defeat of Armenia, since Yak-130 doesn’t provide any warfighting capability like FA-50, JF-17 and M346FA it is obvious that the VKS needs such aircraft to fight low level conflicts and therefore there is definitely interest in such an aircraft.
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