Say hello to the SU-50. Russia’s new stealth air superiority fighter with a secondary attack capability. The Sukhoi 50 is Putin’s first generation 5 aircraft which will be land and carrier based. There will be a stripped down model available for export.
Sense 1945 the United States has owned the skies. We had some scares in the Korean War with the Mig-15, which could out climb our F-86 Sabre. In the Vietnam War the Mig-21 could out maneuver our F-4 Phantom. During the Cold War the Pentagon was severely worried of the capabilities of the Mig-25 and Mig-29. But, as history has shown thru defectors and the collapse of the Soviet Union, all the Russian fighters were debunked as superior.
Now in the information age we can view all the statistics. The comparable rival to the SU-50 is the American F-22 Raptor. Lets compare the two. Both fighters are stealth. Both fighters can super cruise. Both have a ceiling altitude of +65k. Both have comparable weapons bays and hard points. Both fighters utilize next gen computerized helmet sights.
Now lets examine the differences. The F-22 has a greater maximum speed of Mach 1.8 compared to the SU-50’s Mach 1.6 in full after burner. The United States can out produce Russia with a unit production of 180+ Raptors, SU-50 production is estimated at 55+. The Sukhoi is more maneuverable with its 3d thrust vectoring compared to the Raptor’s 2d. The SU-50 comes standard with a 30mm cannon compared to the F-22’s 20mm. The Russian bird can be produced for a measley 75 million, whereas the Raptor costs 150 million.
Air superiority is the key to victory on the modern battlefield. Do we still have it? Which fighter is superior? I’m sure we shall see in conflicts to come.
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