One of Russia’s cutting-edge Su-57 fighter jets has crashed during routine factory test flights near the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft plant in the Far East. The pilot ejected safely and was picked up by a Mi-8 rescue helicopter.
The aircraft involved in the incident belonged to the manufacturer and was undergoing a series of flight tests some 110 kilometres off Dzyomgi airbase in Russia’s Khabarovsk region.
There were no casualties or major damage on the ground, the manufacturer confirmed, in a brief statement. The crashed jet’s black boxes were in the process of being recovered.
The 5th-gen plane 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 anti-terrorism campaign in Syria. Due to their manoeuvrability 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 manoeuvrable hypersonic missile, similar to Kinzhal.
The crash marks the first loss of a Su-57, 10 of which have been built at Sukhoi’s plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur for pre-production tests and combat evaluation. Some of them have been flown in combat during Russia’s military campaign in Syria.
The Su-57, which made its maiden flight in 2010, is Russia’s most advanced fighter plane. It has stealth capability and carries sophisticated equipment and weapons. The twin-engine aircraft has been designed by the Sukhoi company to compete with the U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighter. The Russian air force has placed an order for 76 such aircraft to be delivered by 2028.