Saturday ITAR-TASS printed an interesting update on the PAK FA engine story. It doesn’t really clarify anything (actually quite the opposite), but it’s part of the story.
Recall last spring the engine designers were saying developing a “second phase” engine for PAK-FA could take another 5-6 years, while Sukhoy was saying it might be 10-12 years. In what follows below, the engines aren’t specifically identified as “second phase,” but they are called “seriously distinct from the 117S.”
General Designer of the A. M. Lyulka Scientific-Technical Center (a Moscow subsidiary of NPO Saturn) Yevgeniy Marchukov claims the construction of an engine for the fifth generation fighter is going successfully, and it will go into serial production.
The second experimental T-50 reportedly took off with this engine on 3 March.
“The engines in the experimental prototypes of the future Russian fifth generation fighter are seriously distinct from the 117S engines intended for Su-35 aircraft, both in their parameters and in their fundamentally new automated control system. The T-50 aircraft with NPO Saturn engines fully corresponds to the tactical-technical requirements for the aircraft. And with these engines produced serially, the PAK FA will be supplied for the needs of the Russian Air Forces.”
For his part, Saturn managing director Ilya Fedorov noted that the enterprise “supported the takeoff of the aircraft in the necessary time,” just as it was ready for flight.
ITAR-TASS goes on to add that special stand tests and service life tests on the engine continue at the Lytkarinskiy Machinebuilding Plant (another Saturn subsidiary). Ground development is being conducted on the T-50-KNS model with aircraft systems from OKB Sukhoy at the Gromov Flight Test Institute. Flight tests are also ongoing. T-50-1 has more than 40 flights, the T-50-2 two flights, and the Su-27 flying laboratory has 32 flights.