Russia’s newest fighter sucks at stealth. But that’s exactly the point.
During a massive military parade, Russia gave the world an up-close look at their fifth-generation Su-57. There is little known about the plane other than it has been labeled as a “stealth jet.” India was supposedly interested in purchasing the jet before backing out. At this point, it’s unclear if the stealth jet will ever be put into mass production.
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Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jets were combat tested in Syria earlier this year, and the plane was supposed to be Russia’s response to the United States’ F-22 Raptor stealth fighter. Business Insider noted some of the main differences between a traditional stealth jet and the Su-57.
When looking at the flaps on a traditional stealth jet, they are typically large in order to scatter enemy detection. The Su-57, on the other hand, has very condensed flaps, which allows it to remain undetected because it does not rely on scattering enemy radar.
Another difference with the Su-57 is that the nose is riddled with rivets, which essentially prevents any possibility of stealth. Rivets aren’t just found on the nose of the plane, they are also on the bottom of the plane as well.
In essence, the Su-57 is the worst stealth plane ever created. But as Business Insider points out, that’s the point. The Su-57 is the plane that was created to go up against the F-22 and F-35. Instead of relying on the stealth technology found in other planes, the Su-57 uses something called “beaming.”
Beaming consists of flying perpendicular to an F-22 or F-35 so that when the U.S. planes’ radar picks up a plane’s signature, the pilot typically disregards the warning believing that if they are close enough for radar to sense a plane, they should be able to see the enemy plane with their own eyes. This is, in essence, the Russian plane’s hidden talent.
So while it doesn’t read as any stealth technology that we recognize, it may be even more dangerous. Since the Su-57 has sideways mounted radar, it immediately becomes the biggest threat to any stealth jet the U.S. has made in the past two decades.