Friday, May 27, 2022

Russian SU-57 vs Eurofighter Typhoon – Which Fighter Jet Wins?

In the modern aerial combat theatre,as countriesvie for total domination of the skies, innovation and technology might just be our greatest weapons.In the unlikely event of all-out aerial warfare, will Russia’s newest entry into thefighter jet history books be enough to achieve total air superiority? Russian Su-57versus Eurofighter Typhoon – which would win? As the Second World War was windingdown, the jet age was just taking off. The first of jet-powered aircraft were developedfor the war effort, and these first generation planes were a far cry from the machinesthat dominate the air today – they closely resembled the last generation of propeller-drivenfighters, using the same aerodynamic principles and construction materials, like wood and fabric.As jet engines improved significantly, future .

Generations of fighter aircraft saw improvementsto the planes’ structure and avionics systems. The most advanced 4th and 5th generation planesthat are in use today feature advanced materials, systems and designs that allow for supersonicflight and exceptional maneuverability. The goal of today’s air forces is air superiority- total domination of the aerial arena so as to discourage other nations from even attemptingaerial combat – and the Typhoon and the Su-57 are Europe’s and Russia’s current besthopes for achieving such superiority. Militaries may be hoping to discourage conflict,but that’s not to say there isn’t tension. When Russia annexed the Ukranian territory of Crimeain 2014, the world very nearly found out who would triumph in all-out aerial warfare. Thankfully,major conflict was avoided, but this situation was .

A reminder to the world’s powers that technicalmilitary superiority is as important as ever. The Eurofighter Typhoon is the result of theFuture European Fighter Aircraft program, a 1983 collaboration between the UK, Germany,Italy, Spain and France – although disagreements over design authority would eventually causeFrance to leave the program. The aircraft is manufactured by a consortium of three majorEuropean aerospace corporations – Britain’s BAE Systems, Italian firm Leonardo, and multinationalcompany Airbus – under a joint holding company called Eurofighter. A technical demonstrationtest flight took place in August 1986, but the first Eurofighter prototypewouldn’t take to the skies until March 1994. The aircraft was dubbed the “Typhoon” in1998, the same year that the first production .

Contracts were signed. Despite collaborationamong some of Europe’s brightest minds, the development of the Typhoon was plaguedby delays, including bickering over cost and work sharing between participating nations.The sudden end to the Cold War in 1991 didn’t help matters, either, as reduced demand and urgencysaw military projects around the world falter. The Typhoon officially entered operationalservice in 2003, and is now in service with air forces in Austria, Italy, Germany, the UK,Spain, Saudi Arabia and Oman. The Typhoon is a twin-engine canard-delta wing fighter thatcan be operated by 1 or 2 crew members – the term “delta” refers to the triangular shape ofthe plane’s wings, which resembles the Greek character delta, and the smaller forewingabove the main wing is called a canard. .

The Typhoon is a multirole combat aircraft, whichmeans that it can perform a number of duties, including aerial reconnaissance, airsupport and, of course, attack missions. The Typhoon is a highly agile fighter jetdesigned to excel in a dogfight situation, though later models are better equipped forair-to-surface missions, too. The Typhoon demonstrated its versatility in its 2011 combatdebut in Libya, when the UK’s Royal Air Force, or RAF, and the Italian Air Force performed aerialreconnaissance and air-to-ground strike missions. A total of 623 Typhoons have been produced asof 2019. Back in 1985, the UK estimated that the total cost of the 250 planes they plannedto buy would be $7 billion dollars. By 1997, that had risen to $17 billion, and by the timethe first Typhoons went into service in 2003, .

The cost had ballooned to $20 billiondollars – more than $80 million dollars per aircraft. That’s certainly not a smallnumber, but it’s a bargain compared to the market price for outside buyers – countrieswho haven’t shared in the development costs can expect to pay more than $105 milliondollars to get their hands on a Typhoon. The Soviet Union recognized the need foradvanced fighter aircraft back in 1979, and the Russian Aircraft Corporation, or MiG,was tasked with delivering just such an aircraft by 1990. Development was delayed when the collapseof the Soviet Union led to a lack of funds, and the first test flight didn’t takeplace until the year 2000, 9 years overdue. Another Russian firm, Sukhoi, had been hardat work on their own next-gen fighter jet, .

The Su-27, since 1983, so when the MiG program wascancelled in 2002, they were ready to step in and take over the project. Using plastic compositesallowed the new plane to have 4 times fewer parts than the original Su-27, making it lighter,less expensive and easier to mass produce. In 2007, the Russian government partnered withthe government of India to jointly develop a 5th Generation fighter aircraft. Each country wasto invest $6 billion dollars and the project was expected to take 8 to 10 years, with Indiaoriginally planning to buy 214 of the finished planes. The partnership appeared to be successful,and the first prototype test flight took place in January 2010. However, after first reducingtheir planned order to 144 planes in 2012, India pulled out of the project altogether in2018, complaining that the plane did not meet .

Its requirements for stealth, avionics andweaponry. India’s sudden departure led many to question the future of the Su-57 program,but development plowed ahead and production of the first serial planes began in 2019, withdelivery planned for the following year. Russia may have spent decades and billions ofdollars developing the Su-57, but the finished product is apparently a real bargain, with areported unit cost of just $35 million dollars. The Su-57 was designed with one goal in mind- total air superiority. The 5th generation multirole fighter was built to rival themost advanced military aircraft in existence, like the F-22 Raptor and the Eurofighter Typhoon. The Su-57 was designed for superspeedand supermaneuverability , and is the .

First Russian military aircraft inhistory to use stealth technology. Since the Su-57 is still in production, we don’tyet have any information on how the aircraft fares in combat, though we do know that on ChristmasEve, 2019, the first serial production aircraft crashed due to a control system malfunction whileperforming the final stage of factory trials. The pilot was unable to stop the plane’sdownward spiral using the manual controls, and he was forced to eject at an elevation of2,000 meters. He was later rescued by helicopter. Now that we know a little about thehistory of these two impressive aircraft, let’s see how they stack up against each other. At more than 65 feet long, with a wingspangreater than 46 feet and weighing it at nearly .

40,000 pounds empty, the Russian Su-57 dwarfs itsEuropean counterpart. The Typhoon comes in at 52 feet long with a 35 foot wingspan, and an emptyweight of just under 25,000 pounds. This gives the Su-57 the advantage in terms of capacity -the Su-57’s max takeoff weight of 77,000 pounds is 50% greater than the Typhoon’s max capacity ofjust over 51,000 pounds. This larger capacity also allows the Su-57 to carry more fuel, givingit a longer range of 2,200 miles compared to the Typhoon’s max range of 1,800 miles. Bothplanes have a maximum ceiling of 65,000 feet. The Russian plane also has the more powerfulengines, with it’s 2 Saturn AL-41F1 turbofans with thrust vectoring capable of puttingout nearly 150 kN (kilo-Newtons) of thrust, compared to the 90 kN put out by the Typhoon’stwin Eurojet EJ200 afterburning turbofan engines. .

The Typhoon has advantages of its own, themain one being speed. While both planes are capable of Mach 2 speeds, the smallerand lighter Typhoon is able to climb at more than 62,000 feet per minute and canreach max speeds of 1,550 miles per hour, compared to the Su-57’s top speedof just 1,320 miles per hour. In today’s highly advanced aerial theatre, speedalone won’t be enough to guarantee domination of the skies – aircraft also need to be able to avoiddetection. Being truly invisible is impossible, but modern stealth technology helps to makeit difficult to effectively track a plane. Air Forces around the world had been lookingfor ways to avoid radar since World War II, and the development of new materials likecarbon-fibre and high-strength plastics .

In the 1960s and 70s kicked the stealth raceinto high gear. The first-ever stealth program was announced by the U.S. in 1980, and theirfirst stealth planes – the F-117A Nighthawk ground attack fighter and the B2bomber – were operational by 1983. Aircraft designers achieve stealth witha combination of passive low-observable features and active emitter technology. PassiveLO features include using unconventional shapes and avoiding right angles or largesurfaces to reduce radar reflection. These stealthy design features are at odds withthe principles of aerodynamics and supersonic speeds, meaning designers often have to choosestealth at the expense of speed and agility. Active emitters, like radar, radioand laser technology, are another .

Layer of stealth protection designed to confusesurveillance radar and camouflage the aircraft. The Eurofighter Typhoon is not a true stealthaircraft. Though it was designed with some features that make it less detectable byradar, the Typhoon was built mainly for speed and maneuverability, and it’s canarddelta wings limit the stealth features that can be used in the craft’s design. TheTyphoon’s stealth features include external weapons recessed into the fuselage and s-shapedair-intakes to block the engines from radar. The Su-57 will be the very firststealth aircraft in Russian history. The aircraft’s planform edge alignment wasdesigned to reduce radar cross section, and the plane’s leading and trailingedges are serrated and carefully angled .

To limit detection. The craft is alsotreated with a radar-absorbent material. Still, experts have pointed out some issues withthe plane’s fuselage shape, seams and rivets, making the Su-57 less stealthy than the F22,arguably the world’s stealthiest aircraft. When it comes to stealth, it appears thatthe Su-57 has the edge in technology, though what the Typhoon lacks in stealth itmore than makes up for in maneuverability. Of course, speed and stealth are important,but you can’t make an accurate comparison between two war machines withouttaking a look at their payload. The Eurofighter Typhoon is equipped with13 hardpoints and can be outfitted with a huge array of weapons for any type of mission. TheTyphoon boasts a 27mm Mauser BK-27 revolver cannon .

Holding 150 rounds, and can carry nearly 20,000pounds of additional payload. The Typhoon can handle air-to-air missiles, like the Sidewinderand the Meteor, as well as air-to-surface missiles like the Storm Shadow and Brimstone. It isalso equipped to handle various types of bombs, like the laser-guided Spice 250 (two fifty),with more bombs currently in development. The Su-57 is equipped with a 30mm Gryazev-ShipunovGsh-30-1 autocannon and has 6 interior and 6 exterior hardpoints to handle additional weapons.The Russians have designed the Su-57 to handle a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles,as well as anti-ship and anti-radiation weapons, although most of these more advancedweapons are still in development. Despite being the larger aircraft, the Su-57 canonly carry just over 16,000 pounds of ordinance, .

Giving the slight advantage tothe Typhoon in terms of weaponry. So, now that we know more about the RussianSu-57 versus the Eurofighter Typhoon, how would these aircraft fare in head-to-headcombat? The two planes are comparable in terms of weaponry, but if Russia’s claims about it’snew stealth fighter jet prove true, they might just be able to claim stealth superiority,at least over the Typhoon. The Eurofighter has superior speed and maneuverability,not to mention a more proven track record. The Russian Su-57 certainly sounds like animpressive piece of aviation machinery, but it’s just too new and untested to draw a conclusivecomparison between it and the well-established Typhoon. Plus, between India backing out of theirdeal and the crash of the first production plane, .

It leaves many doubts about the Russian programand plane. The Typhoon has some problems of its own, not least of which is a lack of stealthtechnology, but it has proven itself to be a capable and agile aircraft in combat. Withhundreds more Typhoons in service in multiple countries, and the backing of Europe’s brightestaviation minds, we’d have to give the edge to the Typhoon. It’s important to remember, though, thatin an age of such tight technological competition, the key difference maker might very wellbe the man (or woman) behind the machine. When it comes to “total air superiority”,only time will tell who will claim dominance. The rate of aerial innovationshows no signs of slowing down, and with 6th generation aircraft on thehorizon, we can expect to see continual .

Improvements like supersonic speed, adaptiveshapes and dual-mode engine technologies. We can only hope that the competition to build thebest fighter planes will prove distracting enough to keep the world’s air forces from actually usingtheir new toys and trying to prove it in the air! If you liked this video, be sure and check outour other videos, like this video called “US Police vs. US Military – Which is More HeavilyArmed?”, or you might like this other video.

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