Watch Russia Fly New Fighter Jet with Top Down: Sukhoi Su-57 News

Home / Watch Russia Fly New Fighter Jet with Top Down: Sukhoi Su-57 News

  • A test pilot in Russia has flown the country’s new Su-57 fighter jet without its protective canopy.
  • Footage of the test appears briefly in a video uploaded by Russia’s Ministry of Defense to YouTube.
  • The test was likely to ensure there were no issues in case the canopy accidentally … went away.

    Russia’s Ministry of Defense has dropped a new video that includes some very unusual flying. In the video, a pilot is flying Russia’s long-in-the-works Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet, known to NATO as the “Felon,” without the usual plexiglass cockpit canopy that protects him from the elements. The flight is likely taking place to ensure there are no unexpected issues flying the plane if the canopy were to suddenly come off.

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    Here’s the video. The missing canopy shot is at the 1:10 mark, but the whole video is worth watching:

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    The video celebrates the V.P. Chkalov State Flight Test Center’s 100th anniversary. The center tests new and upgraded Russian aircraft, as well as new weapon systems. The center is headquartered at Akhtubinsk airfield in Astrakhan, with departments at Astrakhan, Moscow and Saratov Regions, Kamchatka Peninsula, in Kabardino-Balkaria and Crimea. It also includes five proving grounds scattered across Russia and beyond.

    The clip is only about three seconds long, but the pilot of the Su-57 is very clearly flying without his protective canopy. The canopy shields the pilot from the wind and bitterly cold temperatures of high-speed, high-altitude flight, as well as rain and inclement weather. The pilot appears to be wearing a very heavy jacket or flight suit as a means of protection.

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    In January 2019, two Israeli Air Force pilots experienced the unpleasantness of unprotected flight when the canopy detached from their F-15I Eagle. The pilots, flying at 30,000 feet, were instantly exposed to -49 degree Fahrenheit temperatures, hurricane-force winds, and deafening engine noise.

    In another 2019 incident, a civilian sitting in a French Air Force Rafale fighter accidentally pulled the eject lever during takeoff, causing him to rocket out of the plane and parachute to safety onto the runway below. The pilot was able to safely land the aircraft.


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    This is the latest glimpse we’ve gotten of Russia’s new Su-57 stealth fighter, which recently underwent unmanned testing (if you believe Vladimir Putin). The Felon is a large twin-engine stealth fighter in the same rough class as the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor.

    The Su-57 is designed to fulfill both anti-air and air-to-ground roles. The aircraft is Russia’s first stealth fighter, with a reduced radar cross-section from the frontal and side aspects. The Su-57, along with the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and China’s Chengdu J-20 fighter, is a fifth-generation fighter, mixing speed, stealth, and advanced weapons and sensors.

    Russia first revealed the Su-57 10 years ago, and state media promised the Russian Aerospace Forces would received 144 Felons by 2012. That, of course, didn’t happen. In reality, development and funding problems forced Moscow to repeatedly pump the brakes on the program, to the point that co-development partner India exited the program. To date, Sukhoi has delivered only 13 jets—all prototypes and pre-production models.

    By comparison, the U.S. revealed last month that it secretly designed, built, and tested a new fighter jet in the span of just one year. While we still don’t know much about America’s new sixth-generation fighter, it’s designed to kill fifth-gens like the Su-57 Felon—with or without the top down.

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