NATO’s Greatest Challenge: Why Alliance Are Deathly Afraid of Russian Su-57s

Sergey Andreev

Su-57 – a new generation fighter

The Russian fighter has more than once been included in the rating of the most technologically advanced combat vehicles in the world, but almost always European and American experts have concluded that the aircraft is not very suitable for direct competition with US and NATO aircraft. At first, experts criticized the Su-57 for “similarity” to the Su-35 and “almost the same technologies” (which in reality, of course, is not so), then they paid attention to the lack of modern engines, but now, it seems, doubts have disappeared and the time has come look at the situation adequately.

Experts from the American magazine Military Watch stated that the Su-57 is rightfully considered a fifth-generation fighter thanks to one technical solution – a unique long-range missile capable of changing the outcome of a battle with one shot.

The main feature of the Su-57, according to the Military Watch experts, was the RVV-AE missile, which was nicknamed the “Viper” for its ability to attack fighters of any type in several modes. This missile is not the newest in the arsenal of the Russian Air Force – it was created back in the mid-90s, but by the time the Su-57 entered testing it had been significantly improved. The maximum launch range has increased, the type of guidance has changed, and other improvements have appeared. After that, RVV-AE was capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 120-130 kilometers. A distinctive feature of the missile is the in-flight correction system – if, after the fighter captures the target and the missile is lowered from the pylon, the enemy aircraft is “lost” from sight, the missile switches to the internal guidance system and re-tries to detect the target, changing the flight angles.

There are only two missiles in the world, the characteristics of which are close to the Russian “Viper” – the American AIM-120 AMRAAM, developed a couple of years earlier than the basic version of the RVV-AE, and the European Meteor medium-range missile, which was put into service only in 2013. But what about the other technologies of the Su-57, and which of the competitors can really compete with it when it comes to fleeting air combat?

The main secret of the fifth generation fighter

The United States and NATO members do not have many fighters capable of destroying targets quickly, efficiently, and unnoticed by the enemy.

F-35 Lightning II . The first and so far the only fifth-generation American fighter to be exported. Combat radius – just over 900 kilometers, weapons – many missiles, including the AIM-120 AMRAAM. The predicted range of destruction is 150-170 kilometers. The unit cost is $ 95 million.

Dassault Rafale . A fourth-generation French fighter jet located at the junction of two technological worlds – the fourth and fifth generations. This is one of the fastest vehicles in the NATO Air Force – at altitude, the Rafale can reach speeds of up to 2200 km / h. Armament – the most modern melee missiles, as well as AIM-120 and Meteor missiles. A distinctive feature of this machine is the information channel through which the fighter (just like the F-35) can “communicate” with other combat-link vehicles and ground forces.

Eurofighter Typhoon . Generation 4+ multipurpose fighter. The closest competitor in terms of manufacturability for the Russian aviation of the fifth generation. This is a relatively fresh machine – Eurofighters began flying in combat units in 2003 and have regularly received update packages over the past few years. The most significant of them is the excellent engines and avionics, thanks to which the car is able to climb to a height of 20 kilometers. Only one fighter, the Russian Su-57, is capable of reaching the same height. In terms of armament, Typhoon is unified with American and European vehicles and can be equipped with AIM-120 and Meteor missiles. At the moment, it is considered the second most technologically advanced fighter aircraft of NATO countries after the F-35.

Su-57 against NATO

The anxiety with which the Russian Su-57 is perceived in NATO is understandable. First, the aircraft was prepared and developed in a record time for the Russian defense industry. Secondly, in parallel with the “Terminator” (as the 57th was called behind the eyes in NATO), several missiles of a new type were being created at once. Thirdly, the real combat effectiveness of the Su-57 for American and European pilots is a dark forest, the details of which are not possible to consider.

Over the past few years, the Su-57 has been repeatedly called a threat to NATO and endowed with other interesting titles. The machine has collected the best aviation technology. When creating this fighter, it was necessary to abandon compromises – if the engine, then with a margin for tens of years in advance, if the armament is such that it could be used without a guaranteed response. Modern machines of the USA and NATO countries are deprived of many of these qualities. The flying hour of the F-35 is too expensive, so they try to save the cars. The French Rafale, once beating American F-22s in close combat, require more and more upgrades, and in an attempt to keep up with the fifth generation aircraft, their cost is constantly growing. The only sane response to the Russian Su-57 in NATO is the Eurofighter Typhoon, but the fourth generation cannot keep up with the fifth in terms of technology – radars,

The time of these machines is inexorably running out – it may be necessary to part with NATO’s own fourth-generation technologies by the end of this decade. If you’re lucky, the “oldies” will fly by for about five to seven years, but then there will be only two cars left to sort things out in the sky: the American F-35 and the Su-57, which may be accompanied by his younger brother, the Su-75. If in a few years European developers do not complete their own projects to create machines of the fifth (and in some places the sixth) generation, then the Su-57 will officially celebrate the victory over the NATO Air Force.

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