PAK-FA Better than Raptor, Putin Boasts

: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last week Russia’s fifth generation PAK-FA fighter will be better than the Air Force’s F-22, which is the only 5th-gen fighter currently in service. “This machine will be superior to our main competitor, the F-22, in terms of maneuverability, weaponry, and range,” said Putin after witnessing a test flight of the new aircraft on June 17, reported Reuters news wire service. The PAK-FA, also known as the T-50, flew for the first time in January. Russia plans to manufacture it jointly with India. Sukhoi has said the airplane should be ready for use in 2015. The emergence of the PAK-FA comes just as the Air Force is hashing out the final details of shutting down the F-22 production line (see F-22 closeout above). (See also Russia Today video of Putin’s up-close look.) (For more background, read Stealth for the Other Guys from the March 2010 issue of Air Force Magazine.)