Russia is accelerating the development of its stealth aircraft and repeating its statement that it will export the plane “to its allies.”
The Russians have been behind in stealth technology, but in recent years, Russia invested significant funds and technological efforts to attain a mastery of the technology for rendering an aircraft transparent to radar systems.
Russia is developing the T-50 aircraft. According to all the signs, this is the most advanced aircraft that will use the technology that has so far been solely in the hands of the US. According to an Israeli expert, “the Russians have managed to close the gap, and in a big way.”
The US has developed an F-22 stealth fighter and is presently in the advanced development stage of the F-35 combat aircraft, which has been purchased by the Israeli Air Force as well.
The Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi is the one that designed the stealth aircraft, whose prototypes are continuing to undergo test flights.
A stealth aircraft is built in a special geometric way that prevents radar waves to return to the antenna of a transmitting station, thus preventing its detection. The body of the aircraft is usually painted with special radar absorbing materials, which also helps to prevent radar screens from seeing it.
The Russians are very proud of their achievement, and have already stated that after the aircraft enters operational service in the Russian air force in 2015, it will be offered for sale to various countries around the world. Such an aircraft in the hands of countries that are hostile towards Israel, including Iran, would severely disrupt the balance of power, that is, if the aircraft does prove to have clear stealth characteristics.
Russia views the new aircraft as a central measure in its efforts to increase the export of military systems. In 2010, Russia exported such systems at a total worth of approximately $9 billion. It now intends to increase the scope of its defense exports.