Su-57 Has The Highest RCS Amongst Sukhoi Aircraft, Russian Propaganda Still Claimed Its Stealth Aircraft

The Su-57 is nowhere near F-35 for similar reasons as to why F-16 are nowhere near F-35. The gap in Stealth and ultimately Situational Awareness is just overwhelming.

The Sukhoi Su-57 (NATO reporting name: Felon) is twin-engine multirole fighter aircraft developed by Sukhoi. It is the product of the PAK FA (”prospective aeronautical complex of front-line air forces”) programme, which was initiated in 1999 as a more modern and affordable alternative to the Mikoyan Project 1.44/1.42.

Sukhoi’s internal designation for the aircraft is T-50. The Su-57 is the first aircraft in Russian military service designed with stealth technology and is intended to be the basis for a family of new combat aircraft.

A Su-57s engine malfunction during factory trials.

However, even though the Su-57 is marketed as a fifth-generation fighter, the Felon is not a true stealth fighter and it can’t be compared to the US-made F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.

‘Imagine if Lockheed or Boeing were to market F-16 or F-15 Silent Eagles with Enclosed Weapons pod and weapon bays as a ‘Stealth aircraft’ along the lines of 5th generation aircraft, how do you think they would compare to F-35?.

‘That’s analogous to calling Su-57 a direct competitor to the F-35 and F-22. Sukhoi’s own patent claims Su-57 has a design RCS between 10 m^2 which is higher RCS than Rafale and Gripen.

A Russian pilot put on Soviet-era helmet. Russia cannot produce helmet mounted display like the AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and F-35 Stealth Jets helmet mounted display.

For a known aircraft [Su-27], the EPR value is about 35 m 2.

The technical result, the achievement of which the invention is directed, is to reduce the magnitude of the aircraft radar visibility to an average value of the order of 5~10 sqm.

‘That’s comparable to a clean Super Hornet and it shouldn’t be a surprise when Su-57 follows many of the same RCS-reduction measures such as using radar blockers to hide the engine face instead of an actual serpentine duct.

Sukhoi Design Bureau completed a patch-up job between wings and slates of the Su-57 aircraft. Commercial off-the-shelf green paint and welded together using brazing method. Brazing involves heating up a filler metal above 800 degrees Fahrenheit which connects the two metals together.

‘It’s not just Su-57 being significantly less stealthy than F-35 (-40 dBsm) – it has a 1,000 times bigger RCS. Since the detection range is proportional to the 4th root of RCS, a 1,000 times bigger RCS equates to a ten times greater detection range. And this is after giving Su-57 every benefit of the doubt, the F-35’s RCS is very likely closer to -50 dB.’

‘The F-35 will be enjoying almost 6 times greater detection range against Su-57. The difference is so huge that Su-57 will be hopelessly outclassed. We see this time and again in Red Flags and Northern Edge with F-35 having 28–0 kill ratio against modern 4th gen. aircraft backed by AWACS and SAMs. The enormous difference in detection range from Stealth is the primary factor for such a lopsided kill ratio.

A screen grab from a video of RT news. Screws are visible on the airframe of Su-57 without any surface treatment. Source RT news.

‘It doesn’t matter how capable radar or EW suite you have, they simply can’t compensate the enormous difference in detection range from a VLO airframe. You can have amazing performance at airshows but without Stealth you’re not gonna be in a fight against 5th gen. aircraft.

Su-57 cockpit is identical to Su-35 cockpit with 1970s ping pong switches and buttons. Russian engineers didn’t bother to think about ergonomics of cockpit. A modern European car’s dashboard has been designed with drivers ergonomics in mind, but $100 million Su-57 doesn’t have an ergonomics cockpit.

‘And this is ignoring the infancy of Su-57 program and consistent delay in the production/IOC since last 4 years or the fact Su-57’s avionics suite is not remotely comparable to that of F-35. The F-35 has a bigger and much more capable radar and orders of magnitude more powerful EW suite giving vastly superior Situational Awareness.

‘Where F-35’s DAS make it the only Fighter to fully operate in the IR spectrum, Su-57 can’t even use its forward-hemisphere IRST without further ruining its RCS. The IRST is turned backwards in Su-57 because it’s a sphere, the worst shape in terms of RCS that uniformly reflects in all direction.

‘Despite all the problems with Su-57 program including lack of existence or international interest, the fundamental design is so far behind F-35 in terms of both Stealth and Situational Awareness – two key aspects of a 5th gen. aircraft. The Su-57’s design is closer to that of 4th gen fighter jets than it is to either F-22 or F-35.

‘Yet the Russian propaganda portrayed Su-57 as an equal counterpart to F-22 and F-35 with people talking about its kinematic performance or side-arrays without even understanding their actual purpose, let alone the impact on EMCON. How great are the Directed IRCMs (Laser turrets) while turning a blind eye to the fact Su-57 use a UV based Missile Warning System – making Su-57 significantly vulnerable to BVR missiles. 10 years since first flight and there’s no indication of K-77M or K-74M anywhere close to being operational, forcing Su-57 to fly with R-77 & R-74 externally (as they won’t fit inside).’

‘Imagine the kind of articles you’d see if F-35 didn’t have an operational missile that could fit internally. The Su-57 gets away with all the shortcomings using propaganda and fantasies, the likes of non-existent L band radar.

‘The Su-57 is nowhere near F-35 for similar reasons as to why F-16 are nowhere near F-35. The gap in Stealth and ultimately Situational Awareness is just overwhelming.’

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