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29.1.10

Hitlers_Stealth_Fighter_2009.jpg image by strikterThe prototyp e of a new stealth fighter being co-developed between Russia and India has made a successful first flight from a test airfield near the Siberian city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia.

The Russian made Sukhoi T-50, which India refers to as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), is the Russian equivalent of the US built F-22 stealth fighter. India is a full partner in the project and the Indian version of the jet will feature several homegrown technologies including the jet's mission computer.

The T-50 has super cruise capabilities, which means its normal cruise speed is beyond Mach 1, the speed of sound.

India is likely to pick up a 25 per cent stake in the 10 billion dollar project, but it's likely to be a decade before the fighter is fully developed and enters squadron service.
There are few experimental studies of plasma's effect on RCS. One of the most interesting articles was published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 1963 and described the effect of plasma on the RCS of aircraft. The article entitled "Radar cross sections of dielectric or plasma coated conducting spheres and circular cylinders" was based on the data offered by Sputnik, the first artificial satellite launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957.

3942_Hitlers_Stealth_Fighter-08_04700300.jpgWhile trying to track Sputnik it was noticed that its electromagnetic scattering properties were different from what was expected for a conductive sphere. This was due to the satellite traveling inside of a plasma shell.While Sputnik was flying at high velocity through the ionosphere it was surrounded by a naturally-occuring plasma shell and because of it there were two separate radar reflections: the first from the surface of the satellite itself and the second from the plasma shell. If one of the reflections is greater the other one will not contribute much to the overall effect. When the two reflections have the same order of magnitude and are out of phase relative to each other cancellation occurs and the RCS becomes null. The aircraft becomes invisible to radar.

In January 1999, the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS published an interview with Doctor Anatoliy Koroteyev who talked about the plasma stealth device developed by his organization. Doctor Koroteyev was the director of the Keldysh Research Center. There have also been claims that in 2002 the Russians tested a plasma stealth device on board a Su-27 and RCS was reduced by a factor of 100.

The Keldysh Research Center has created a plasma generator that weights no more than 100 kilos, thus making it possible to be fitted on board most tactical aircraft. Current stealth technology uses radar absorbent materials (RAM) and angled surfaces that don't reflect radar waves back. This constitutes as a main drawback, since an alteration of the airframe has negative effects on the flight characteristics of these aircraft. The third generation stealth technology F-22 Raptor seems however to be an exception since it is both a fast aicraft and very maneuverable.
Blueprints of Hitlers' Stealth Fighter
By using a plasma generator the aerodynamic characteristics of the aircraft do not suffer which in term means that the payload is increased making it more effective. The use of this technology offers the benefit of not having to carry the payload internally to be able to fool enemy radar. The Sukhoi Su-35 and the MiG-35 (both upgrades of Su-27 and MiG-29) are the first to benefit from this technology.

F-117A Stealth fighter aircraft at the Tonopah test rangeOne of the most interesting russian fighters to benefit from the plasma stealth technology is the MiG 1.42/1.44 also known as the MFI (Mnogofunktsionalny Frontovoi Istrebitel - Multifunctional Frontline Fighter). This new aircraft is a fifth generation air-superiority fighter, a rival for the american F-22 Raptor. Both aircraft have the same supercruise capability as well as thrust vectoring for supermaneuverability (a capability to fly at supercritical angles of attack, at increased level of sustained and available g-loads and high turn-angle rate, which require a greater thrust-to-weight ratio and improved wing aerodynamic efficiency). This aircraft may prove to be a milestone in aviation, as so many russian aircraft were before.
Sukhoi's KNAAPO aircraft plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur is reported to have built three prototypes of FGFA with the technical name T-50 under its PAK FA project to rival US Lockheed F-22 Raptor and its newer version F-35.

Under an agreement signed in October 2007, India has also joined the FGFA project by taking a 50 per cent investment stake in the project. For the Indian Air Force, a lighter, two-seater version is to be developed to meet its specific requirements.

The Russian Air Force intends to begin the induction of FGFA from 2015, India is also expected to induct at least 250 combat jets, which would be manufactured by HAL - the nodal partner of Sukhoi in the project.

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