The first serially produced Russian Su-57 fighter jet is being used at the State Flight Test Center (GLITS) in Akhtubinsk for testing Kinzhal (dagger) hypersonic aircraft weapons. TASS had earlier reported that the Su-57 entered service with one of the aviation regiments of the Russian Southern Military District. On 22 August 2018, during the International Military-Technical Forum “ARMY-2018”, the Russian Defence Ministry and the JSC Sukhoi signed the first contract for delivery of two serial Su-57 fighters. JSC Sukhoi has started the serial production of the aircraft in late July 2019.
So far only the MiG-31K fighters on duty in the Russian Southern Military District are carriers of the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal uclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM). It has a claimed range of more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi), Mach 10 speed, and an ability to perform evasive maneuvers at every stage of its flight. It can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads and can be launched from Tu-22M3 bombers or MiG-31K fighters. It has been deployed at airbases in Russia’s Southern Military District. The Kinzhal entered service in December 2017 and is one of the six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 1 March 2018.
The Sukhoi Su-57 (NATO reporting name: Felon) is a stealth, single-seat, twin-engine multirole fifth-generation jet fighter being developed since 2002 for air superiority and attack operations. The aircraft is the product of the PAK FA, a fifth-generation fighter programme of the Russian Air Force. Sukhoi’s internal name for the aircraft is T-50. The Su-57 is planned to be the first aircraft in Russian military service to use stealth technology. The fighter is designed to have supercruise, supermaneuverability, stealth, and advanced avionics to overcome the prior generation fighter aircraft as well as ground and naval defences. The Su-57 is intended to succeed the MiG-29 and Su-27 in the Russian Air Force.
The Su-57 prototype has two tandem main internal weapon bays each approximately 4.6 m (15.1 ft) long and 1.0 m (3.3 ft) wide and two small triangular section weapon bays that protrude under the fuselage near the wing root. Internal carriage of weapons preserves the aircraft’s stealth and significantly reduces aerodynamic drag, thus preserving kinematic performance compared to performance with external stores. For air-to-air combat, the Su-57 is expected to carry four beyond-visual-range missiles in its two main weapons bays and two short-range missiles in the wing root weapons bays. For missions that do not require stealth, the Su-57 can carry stores on its six external hardpoints.