Losses and Aviation Safety

Russian Su-57 Felon Stealth Fighter Crashes during Testing, Pilot Ejects Safely

First Sukhoi Su-57 Felon Crash.

A Sukhoi Su-57 Felon fifth-generation fighter crashed during a routine factory test flight in Taiga forest area in Russia’s Far Easter Khabarovsk Territory, Russia, near the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft plant in the Far East. on Dec. 24, 2019.

According to TASS, the pilot ejected safely and was picked up by a Mi-8 rescue helicopter.

The control systems failed and the Felon (reported as serial 51001, bort number blue 01), Russia’s fifth-generation fighter, crashed 111 kilometers from Komsomolsk-on-Amur airfield. As reported by Scramble Magazine, this could be the very first aircraft from the new production line that started in June 2019 by manufacturer UAC. 51001 was set to be delivered by late 2019 and performed possibly its first of one of its first flights. In May 2019 UAC announced its full-scale serial production of the initial operational badge of 76 Su-57s with first deliveries in 2020. This production badge should be completed by 2028.

The crash could cause a setback in production.

To date, only two incidents with Su-57s are known. The first happened in 2011, at the MAKS airshow, a then designated T-50-2 (bort number 52) blow up an engine while in June 2014 a Su-57 landed at Gromov in Zhukovsky, with a burning engine. A fire started but was quickly eliminated by the fire department. This aircraft (bort number 055) was badly damaged but later rebuilt and returned to testing.

The stealth fighter has been on trials since 2010, and finally entered serial production only this year. So far, Russia has only a handful of operational Su-57s that were manufactured during the pre-production period.

The aircraft, however, has already been tested in real combat conditions, briefly taking part in Russia’s campaign in Syria. Due to their maneuverability and supersonic features, the twin-engine stealth Su-57s are set to become the backbone of Russian aerial superiority during warfare. The Su-57 is set to be fitted with ‘smart’ guided bombs and will reportedly get a highly maneuverable hypersonic missile, similar to Kinzhal.

Photo credit: Rulexip via Wikimedia Commons

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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  • T-50-2 didn't blow up an engine. It had a compressor stall or a surge which was caused by a faulty sensor. The engine shot out a flame, but engine remained in one piece.

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