The Russian Sukhoi PAK FA T-50 is multirole fighter jet designed for air superiority and attack roles, planned to have supercruise, stealth, supermaneuverability, and advanced avionics. It’ll be the first operational aircraft in Russian service to use stealth technology, and it’s intended to be at the same level as the most advanced fighter jet in existence: the Raptor F-22.
Let’s first acknowledge that the F-22 and T-50 share many excellent characteristics: both can supercruise (go supersonic without using afterburners) at over one and a half times the speed of sound—the Raptor faster than the PAK FA at Mach 1.8 compared to Mach 1.6. Both can operate at up to 65,000 feet high, higher than the new F-35 Lightning II.
Missile technology has long promised to make air combat about slinging missiles over distances well over 100 or even 200 kilometers. But if both aircraft use stealth technology, the range at which they can accurately target each other with radar-guided weapons is drastically shortened. Which, in theory, could bring back more close-range dogfights.
It would be an old-fashioned dogfight between the ultimate stealth fighters of the day, the F-22 Raptor and the PAK FA T-50. One caveat is that the F-22 Raptor is already cruising the skies, while the PAK FA T-50 will soon begin hatching from its industrial nest, meaning that it’s yet to be mass produced. Nonetheless, assuming the Russians will pull it off, which one would come on top?
Find out below: