Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday announced the purchase of 76 of the latest Su-57 fighters by the Ministry of Defense, which are to enter service with three aviation regiments by 2028. Vladimir Putin announced the readiness of the military to purchase large quantities of new aircraft at a meeting on the development of military aviation held in Sochi. He recalled that in 2013-2018, the troops received more than a thousand new and modernized aircraft and helicopters; as a result, 65% of the Aerospace Force aircraft fleet was modernized.
The contract is estimated at up to 170 billion rubles (approx. $2.4 billion), which makes it the largest in the history of Russian aviation and guarantees a full workload for the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aviation plant for at least a decade. The agreement may be signed in the presence of the President at the MAKS aerospace show. Work on the Su-57 fighter began in 2002. Two years later, the plane was presented to the president in a layout. In 2010, Mr. Putin said that about 30 billion rubles were spent at the first stage of creating the aircraft.
The Russian Air Force is slated to receive two new Su-57s prototypes by the end of 2019 and two more aircraft in 2020. Notably, these aircraft will not be in serial configuration. Mass production is not expected to kick off before 2020. The Russian military aircraft industry announced earlier this month that it is ready to start mass production of the Su-57. 10 Su-57 prototypes are currently undergoing various stages of testing and evaluation with the Russian Air Force.
The new Su-57s are expected to be delivered to three aviation regiments. Those units, include regiments in the three main strategic regions in the northwest, southwest, and far east. The report said only the best pilots would be trained on the aircraft. Seventy-six of these fighters is a particularly tall order for the Russian military, which has had to cut orders for various programs, such as the T-14 Armata main battle tank, over funding shortages. Right now, Russia has only 10 Su-57 prototypes, and fighter development has been moving much slower than expected.