The Sukhoi Su-57: TsAGI’s innovative solutions
14 March 2019
The prototype aircraft T-50 first caught the air in the beginning of 2010. It was the Russian fifth generation multirole jet fighter, developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau within the PAK FA project (Prospective Aeronautical Complex of Front-line Air forces).The fighter is known as the Su-57 now.
The new aircraft started to be developed in the framework of the scientific-research works in the Zhukovsky Central AeroHydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI, a member of the National Research Center “Zhukovsky Institute”) in 1999. Specialists of the leading centre of aeronautical science together with their colleagues from the Sukhoi Design Bureau had to create a fighter with a number of unique features and characteristics that were mutually contradictory. It was necessary to develop an aviation complex, with functions of a fighter, interceptor and attack aircraft. The PAK FA’s high combat effectiveness shall be achieved by technical solutions of aerodynamic layout, stability and control, control systems, propulsion, radar and infrared signatures, onboard avionics and weapons. Together with the Sukhoi Design Bureau TsAGI’s scientists developed the aerodynamic aircraft concept that met the requirements of the fifth generation fighter aircraft. They created a variable low-observable air intake, which does not have analogues in the world. It ensures the engine’s stable operation at all flight modes. Specialists of the Institute worked out control systems for maneuverable aircraft which is statically unstable in lateral and longitudinal control channels. TsAGI’s scientists successfully solved another challenge — they ensured the airframe integrity while using the new composite materials. As a result, they met the requirements for the weight parameters of the construction of the aviation complex, the weight perfection of the aircraft. In a very short time there were carried out works on flatter safety, aeroelasticity of aircraft structure and shimmy.
The Institute’s specialists held a unique calculated analysis of the fighter configuration. 28 different aircraft models were tested in TsAGI’s wind tunnels; the total number of tests exceeded 32 thousand. There were successfully completed testing of new materials and design elements.
After the first flight of the prototype the research to refine the flying machine was continued. So, during the 9 years of follow-up TsAGI defined aerodynamics characteristics of the complex, compared with the results of flight tests, tested the new aircraft armament safety. There were hold frequency response tests for all the created aircraft during the preparation and conducting of flight tests.