The Russian defence industry began to realize the concept of a sixth-generation fighter aircraft that would eventually replace the Sukhoi Su-57 PAK-FA.
Like the Air Force and the United States Navy, Russia considers various concepts including crew and Nirawak vehicle teams, directional energy weapons, and hypersonics. Russia also saw a novel radar and electro-optical sensor technology that seemed to be designed to fight stealth planes.
The National Interest noted, one system that was being developed for the potential of the new aircraft was radio-photonic radar.
“Radio-photonic radar will be able to see further from the existing Radar, according to our forecasts. When we highlight an enemy in an unprecedented range of frequencies, we will know its position with the highest accuracy. After processing, we will get an almost photographic image of the radio vision, “said Vladimir Mikheyev, advisor to the first deputy CEO of Radio-Electronic Technologies Group (KRET), in an interview with the Russian government’s TASS news agency.
“It’s important to determine the aircraft type: The aircraft’s computer will soon and automatically identify flying objects, such as F-18, with certain types of missile weaponry.”
According to Mikheyev, the new “Radio-photonic radar” will operate on a much wider band of conventional radars and is far more resistant to radar poisoning by enemies. Furthermore, the new system is expected to be used as an electronic warfare system, Datalink, and as a communication system. The new radar prototype has now also been built.
“Transmitters and receivers have been constructed based on experimental prototypes as part of research and development work. All this works and performs location. We emit a very high frequency signal, which is reflected back, then we receive, process, and obtain the radar image of an object. We will continue to investigate what we need to do to make it optimal, “said Mikheyev.
“Now a complete clone of the radio-optic photonic antenna array is being developed as part of the research and development work, which will allow us to test the characteristics of serial prototypes. We will be able to understand how the radar should be, in what geometric sizes and how many ranges and strengths. “
In addition to his new radar, Russia hopes to transmit a new electro-optical sensor.
“Strong multi-spectrum optical systems operate in a variety of laser, infrared, ultraviolet, and optical tape ranges, which far exceed the spectrum seen by humans,” Mikheyev added.
The plane will also be equipped with a directional energy weapon and fly as part of a flock of drones. While the two aircraft in the flight may be manned, there may be 20 to 30 unmanned aircraft accompanying the Jets.
“One unmanned aircraft in the formation flight will carry microwave guns, including guided electronic ammunition. Meanwhile, other unmanned aircraft will bring the means of reducer and destruction of radio-electronics and the third manned aircraft will be armed with a standard set of weaponry, “said Mikheyev. “Every specific task is done by different weaponry.”
Mikheyev also described self-defense laser weapons for the aircraft in the future.
“We already have a laser protection system mounted on planes and helicopters. Now we are talking about the developments in the laser-powered field that can physically destroy the target locking of missile attacks, “said Mikheyev.
“Roughly, we’ll be able to burn the ‘ eye ‘ missile that ‘ looks at us ‘. Naturally, such systems will also be installed on sixth-generation aircraft. “
According to Michael Kofman, research scientist specializing in Russian military affairs at the Center for Naval Analyses, while the Kremlin may not have the money to fund such projects. However, it is important to note, the Russian defense industry continues to follow developments in the field of tactical aviation.
“I think the important wisdom that can be taken is, the Russian defense industry recognizes some key trends in military science and weapons technology,” Kofman said.
“Although they may lack funds and some defense industry bases, they keep pace with the development of the next generation of capabilities that may enter the battlefield.”
As in The United States, The National Interest reported, various defense companies had to lobbied The Russian government to ensure they got the production part.
“It is unclear how much funds will actually be available in the upcoming State armament program for 2018-2025 to support these various projects. However, undoubtedly, KRET hopes to be able to get support for some effort and thereby convey the entire system that Russia may be quite far from development, “said Kofman.
In the end, it is unclear whether the KRET vision for the Russian 6th generation fighter aircraft would be a reality, but it is worth noting that the Russian industrial base is exploring the possibilities.