Russia could turn its first fifth-generation fighter, the Sukhoi Su-57, into a sixth-generation fighter the former head of the Russian Aerospace Force, chief Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev recently told TASS.
“This is actually a splendid plane and it can embrace both fifth-and sixth-generation features. It has huge modernization potential,” Bondarev, now chairman of the Federation Council Defense and Security Committee, said. “Importantly, it is the best among the existing versions by its stealth characteristics. It incorporates all the best that is available in modern aviation science both in Russia and in the world,” he added.
As reported by Franz-Stefan Gady in an extensive piece for The Diplomat, Russian defense officials have repeatedly claimed that hardware elements designed for a future sixth-generation fighter have been tested on the Su-57 prototype, including flight and navigation systems as well as advanced electronic warfare and radar systems.
Russia revealed the design of a new sixth-generation fighter aircraft for the first time in March 2016. According to Russian defence officials, the new aircraft is slated to be available in manned and unmanned configuration and could take to the air for the first time in the late 2020s.