Russia’s very first stealth fighter jet appeared above a sea of Russian tanks and weaponry just outside the capital Moscow - a clear signal to the world that the Russian Federation is committed to expanding its military might.
The Russian Federation invited 70 countries to take part in their two-week annual International Army Games. 28 countries - all non-NATO club with the exception of Greece - competed in a wide range of categories from best field kitchen to epic, gigantic tank battles.
Russia's latest fighter appeared at the Games in an aerial performance designed to wow the crowds.This is Russia’s first “stealth” fighter.
Made by Sukhoi, the name for this fifth-generation single sea twin engine jet was announced as the “Su-57” on Aug. 11. The Russian media likes to call the new aircraft the “Ghost” presumably because it is intended to be so stealthy it cannot be seen or detected.
Many aviation experts have publicly expressed reservations about whether the “Ghost” is actually very stealthy or qualifies as fifth generation. Other problems frequently cited include external weapons and an inferior outdated engine.
In the past, the aircraft has been described at events like the Paris Air Show as 4++. Based on what has been shown internationally, many believe the “Ghost” is basically the Su-35 fighter in terms of capabilities with the upgrades of some degree of stealth capabilities and AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars.
Russian media has widely lauded the Su-57 and asserted that it possesses capabilities such as the ability to be piloted remotely – as in it can be operated like a drone, not just flown by humans in the actual cockpit in the aircraft.
There have also been suggestions in Russian press that it has a maximum cruising speed of more than 1,500 mph and that it is highly maneuverable.
The F-35’s publicly listed top speed is 1,199 miles per hour – so if the Su-57 speed were true then it would make the Russian stealth fighter faster than the most state-of-the-art American fifth generation stealth fighter.
Russian media has also reported that the weaponry will be superior to its American counterpart. The Su-57 would supposedly carry K-77M missiles with a reported range of about 125 miles.
The Russian Ministry of Defense’s public announcement claimed the new Su-57 could outmatch the US F-22 as well as China’s Shenyang J-31.
Russia expects its next-gen supersonic “stealth” combat Su-57s jets to be operational next year.
‘Dogfights,’ in the sky, tank battles below
The International Army Games is a colossal event. In fact, thousands show up to watch and the games are broadcast live.
Who emerged with bragging rights as the most lethal, capable and powerful army?
Home team Russia tends to win – and this year was no exception. Kazakhstan won second place and China came in third place. Iran placed in the top 10.
One of the most popular events is the tank biathalon which is sort of like a relay race through obstacles and firing live artillery rounds at targets. It is judged on factors like speed and accuracy. The event is BYOT (Bring Your Own Tank) or competitors could borrow Russian T-72B3 tanks to use.
While the Russian Army triumphed on land with their tanks, their air power dominated the skies above with a gigantic spectacle of strength in that terrain.
This year is the 105th anniversary of the Russian Air Force. More than 150 aircraft took to the air demonstrating Russian pilots’ skill and the power of their aircraft.
The U.S. shows military might
The United States did not participate in the International Army Games, but Operation Ample Strike that takes place on Russia’s geographical doorstep in the Czech Republic has just kicked off and brings serious U.S. military might to the region including B-52 and B-1 bombers.
The U.S. military was also preparing for another big military exercise near a different Russian border. This annual Ulchi-Guardian joint military drills with South Korea has escalated tensions again with Russia’s neighbor North Korea.