Target Ukraine: US F-35 vs Russian Air Force SU-57 jets, who wins?

Reports claim the first Su-57 fighter was delivered in 2020 to the Russian Air Force. The Su-57 fighter jet has stealth technology and can reach supersonic cruising speed.


Russia’s combat aircraft fleet

According to World Air Force Report, 2022, Russia has the third-largest combat aircraft fleet size in the world with 1,571 planes behind the US(2,740) andh China(1,571). The report said the Russian Air Force has 273 Su-24, 192 Su-25, 350 Su-27/30/35 and 125 Su-34.

The Russian fighters accounted for 7 per cent of the global combat aircraft fleet with the US topping the charts with 15% of the total.

As of December 2021, 14,713 combat planes were in operational service in military aircraft fleets across the world, the report said. The Su-27 fighter jet first flew in May 1977 and since then it has undergone many upgradations with new versions unveiled giving the Russian Air Force a major advantage.

Russian news agencies have said over 70 Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jets will be delivered to Russian troops by 2027.

The Sukhoi Su-57 is a fifth-generation fighter that can destroy air, ground and naval targets.



Su-57 fighter jet’s stealth features

The Su-57 fighter jet has stealth technology and can reach supersonic cruising speed has an onboard computer the so-called electronic second pilot, a report in TASS news agency said. Reports claim the Russian Air Force will receive 22 Su-57 fighters by late 2024.

Reports claim the first Su-57 fighter was delivered in 2020. The number of Su-57 fighters are due to reach 76 by 2028. The Su-57 had made its debut in January 2010. It can carry hypersonic missiles and has reportedly been tested in combat conditions in Syria.



F-35 is a long-range, supersonic fighter with Mach 1.6 speed

The US F-35 has the ability to collect, analySe and share data and can evade enemy detection and enter contested airspace.

The F-35 carries weapons internally in stealth configuration, or externally in permissible environments with greater than 18,000 pounds of total ordinance, according to Lokheed Martin.

At Mach 1.6, the F-35 is a long-range, supersonic fighter with advanced sensor fusion which creates a single integrated picture of the battlefield. The F-35 also serves as an information and communications gateway, sharing its operational picture with the ground, sea and air assets.



F-35 can jam radars and disrupt attacks

The F-35 has advanced EW capabilities to locate and track enemy forces with ability to jam radars and disrupt attacks. It has active electronically-scanned array radar which provides long-range intelligence.

F-35’s advanced HMD provides pilots with unmatched situational awareness in diverse conditions along with high-resolution real-time imagery to the pilot’s helmet from six infrared cameras mounted around the aircraft.

The F-35 also has infrared search and track functionality.



F-35: Plagued by 871 software and hardware deficiencies

Recently, seven US sailors were injured in a Navy F-35C fighter “landing mishap” on an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea. No details were provided on the cause of the incident or the fate of the aircraft. The Pacific Fleet said the incident was under investigation.

Earlier, the Pentagon had said the “world’s most advanced” fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet, currently in service with the US military and eight allies, continues to be plagued by 871 software and hardware deficiencies.

The elite fighter aircraft is being flown by Britain, Israel among other countries.

“Approximately 100 new deficiency reports were written in 2020 and about as many were resolved and adjudicated,” Lockheed said. The company, however, added that the deficiencies were “low priority”.



Russia already has fourth-generation fighter jets

Russia already has fourth-generation fighter jets – the heavy-class Sukhoi Su-27 and light-class Mikoyan MiG-29. It has one heavy-class fifth generation fighter jet, the Su-57, but no light-class equivalent, Panteleyev said.

“Light-class fighter jets are more in demand in the world than heavy-class ones – they are cheaper and more suitable for states that don’t have large territories,” he told Reuters.

In 2011, Russia used the MAKS air show to unveil the Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter.

United Aircraft, which is part of Rostec, owns the Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer that dates back to the former Soviet era.



Russia’s new ‘Checkmate’ fighter jet

Russia had unveiled a prototype of a new Sukhoi fifth-generation fighter jet at its annual MAKS air show last year with an eye on export markets.

The warplane, given the project name “Checkmate”, is likely to be touted as a rival to the US F-35 stealth fighter, said Oleg Panteleyev, head of the Aviaport analytical agency.

Reports first surfaced that the jet was being manufactured in May 2020.

According to the launch video it was developed “in record time”.



Price lower than US F-35 jet

The jet can attack up to six targets simultaneously on land, air or sea, “even under conditions of strong electronic interference,” the manufacturers said.

It is also capable of carrying drones and launch them during flights.

Slyusar said he expected nearly 300 orders in the next 15 years mainly from the Middle East, Asia and Latin America for a price “seven times lower” than the F-35.



Putin’s plan

Putin praised Russia’s aviation industry as he unveiled the biennial MAKS air show earlier Tuesday.

“Russian aviation has great potential for development, and our aircraft industry continues to create new competitive aircraft,” Putin said.

Putin has made investing in the army and developing new weaponry a priority over his two-decade rule.

Russia has boasted of developing several weapons that circumvent existing defence systems, including the Sarmat intercontinental missiles and Burevestnik cruise missiles.