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  • In the modern aerial combat theatre,as countries  vie for total domination of the skies, innovation  

  • and technology might just be our greatest weaponsIn the unlikely event of all-out aerial warfare,  

  • will Russia's newest entry into the  fighter jet history books be enough  

  • to achieve total air superiority? Russian Su-57  versus Eurofighter Typhoon - which would win?

  • As the Second World War was winding  down, the jet age was just taking off.  

  • The first of jet-powered aircraft were developed  for the war effort, and these first generation  

  • planes were a far cry from the machines  that dominate the air today - they closely  

  • resembled the last generation of propeller-driven  fighters, using the same aerodynamic principles  

  • and construction materials, like wood and fabricAs jet engines improved significantly, future  

  • generations of fighter aircraft saw improvements  to the planes' structure and avionics systems.  

  • The most advanced 4th and 5th generation planes  that are in use today feature advanced materials,  

  • systems and designs that allow for supersonic  flight and exceptional maneuverability.

  • The goal of today's air forces is air superiority  - total domination of the aerial arena so as to  

  • discourage other nations from even attempting  aerial combat - and the Typhoon and the Su-57  

  • are Europe's and Russia's current best  hopes for achieving such superiority.

  • Militaries may be hoping to discourage conflictbut that's not to say there isn't tension. When  

  • Russia annexed the Ukranian territory of Crimea  in 2014, the world very nearly found out who would  

  • triumph in all-out aerial warfare. Thankfullymajor conflict was avoided, but this situation was  

  • a reminder to the world's powers that technical  military superiority is as important as ever.

  • The Eurofighter Typhoon is the result of the  Future European Fighter Aircraft program,  

  • a 1983 collaboration between the UK, GermanyItaly, Spain and France - although disagreements  

  • over design authority would eventually cause  France to leave the program. The aircraft  

  • is manufactured by a consortium of three major  European aerospace corporations - Britain's BAE  

  • Systems, Italian firm Leonardo, and multinational  company Airbus - under a joint holding company  

  • called Eurofighter. A technical demonstration  test flight took place in August 1986,  

  • but the first Eurofighter prototype  wouldn't take to the skies until March  

  • 1994. The aircraft was dubbed theTyphoonin  1998, the same year that the first production  

  • contracts were signed. Despite collaboration  among some of Europe's brightest minds,  

  • the development of the Typhoon was plagued  by delays, including bickering over cost  

  • and work sharing between participating nationsThe sudden end to the Cold War in 1991 didn't help  

  • matters, either, as reduced demand and urgency  saw military projects around the world falter.

  • The Typhoon officially entered operational  service in 2003, and is now in service with  

  • air forces in Austria, Italy, Germany, the UKSpain, Saudi Arabia and Oman. The Typhoon is  

  • a twin-engine canard-delta wing fighter that  can be operated by 1 or 2 crew members - the  

  • termdeltarefers to the triangular shape of  the plane's wings, which resembles the Greek  

  • character delta, and the smaller forewing  above the main wing is called a canard.

  • The Typhoon is a multirole combat aircraft, which  means that it can perform a number of duties,  

  • including aerial reconnaissance, air  support and, of course, attack missions.  

  • The Typhoon is a highly agile fighter jet  designed to excel in a dogfight situation,  

  • though later models are better equipped for  air-to-surface missions, too. The Typhoon  

  • demonstrated its versatility in its 2011 combat  debut in Libya, when the UK's Royal Air Force,  

  • or RAF, and the Italian Air Force performed aerial  reconnaissance and air-to-ground strike missions.

  • A total of 623 Typhoons have been produced as  of 2019. Back in 1985, the UK estimated that  

  • the total cost of the 250 planes they planned  to buy would be $7 billion dollars. By 1997,  

  • that had risen to $17 billion, and by the time  the first Typhoons went into service in 2003,  

  • the cost had ballooned to $20 billion  dollars - more than $80 million dollars  

  • per aircraft. That's certainly not a small  number, but it's a bargain compared to the  

  • market price for outside buyers - countries  who haven't shared in the development costs  

  • can expect to pay more than $105 million  dollars to get their hands on a Typhoon.

  • The Soviet Union recognized the need for  advanced fighter aircraft back in 1979,  

  • and the Russian Aircraft Corporation, or MiGwas tasked with delivering just such an aircraft  

  • by 1990. Development was delayed when the collapse  of the Soviet Union led to a lack of funds,  

  • and the first test flight didn't take  place until the year 2000, 9 years overdue.

  • Another Russian firm, Sukhoi, had been hard  at work on their own next-gen fighter jet,  

  • the Su-27, since 1983, so when the MiG program was  cancelled in 2002, they were ready to step in and  

  • take over the project. Using plastic composites  allowed the new plane to have 4 times fewer parts  

  • than the original Su-27, making it lighterless expensive and easier to mass produce.

  • In 2007, the Russian government partnered with  the government of India to jointly develop a 5th  

  • Generation fighter aircraft. Each country was  to invest $6 billion dollars and the project  

  • was expected to take 8 to 10 years, with India  originally planning to buy 214 of the finished  

  • planes. The partnership appeared to be successfuland the first prototype test flight took place in  

  • January 2010. However, after first reducing  their planned order to 144 planes in 2012,  

  • India pulled out of the project altogether in  2018, complaining that the plane did not meet  

  • its requirements for stealth, avionics and  weaponry. India's sudden departure led many  

  • to question the future of the Su-57 programbut development plowed ahead and production of  

  • the first serial planes began in 2019, with  delivery planned for the following year.  

  • Russia may have spent decades and billions of  dollars developing the Su-57, but the finished  

  • product is apparently a real bargain, withreported unit cost of just $35 million dollars.

  • The Su-57 was designed with one goal in mind  - total air superiority. The 5th generation  

  • multirole fighter was built to rival the  most advanced military aircraft in existence,  

  • like the F-22 Raptor and the Eurofighter Typhoon.  

  • The Su-57 was designed for superspeed  and supermaneuverability , and is the  

  • first Russian military aircraft in  history to use stealth technology.

  • Since the Su-57 is still in production, we don't  yet have any information on how the aircraft fares  

  • in combat, though we do know that on Christmas  Eve, 2019, the first serial production aircraft  

  • crashed due to a control system malfunction while  performing the final stage of factory trials.  

  • The pilot was unable to stop the plane's  downward spiral using the manual controls,  

  • and he was forced to eject at an elevation of  2,000 meters. He was later rescued by helicopter.

  • Now that we know a little about the  history of these two impressive aircraft,  

  • let's see how they stack up against each other.

  • At more than 65 feet long, with a wingspan  greater than 46 feet and weighing it at nearly  

  • 40,000 pounds empty, the Russian Su-57 dwarfs its  European counterpart. The Typhoon comes in at 52  

  • feet long with a 35 foot wingspan, and an empty  weight of just under 25,000 pounds. This gives  

  • the Su-57 the advantage in terms of capacitythe Su-57's max takeoff weight of 77,000 pounds  

  • is 50% greater than the Typhoon's max capacity of  just over 51,000 pounds. This larger capacity also  

  • allows the Su-57 to carry more fuel, giving  it a longer range of 2,200 miles compared to  

  • the Typhoon's max range of 1,800 miles. Both  planes have a maximum ceiling of 65,000 feet.

  • The Russian plane also has the more powerful  engines, with it's 2 Saturn AL-41F1 turbofans  

  • with thrust vectoring capable of putting  out nearly 150 kN (kilo-Newtons) of thrust,  

  • compared to the 90 kN put out by the Typhoon's  twin Eurojet EJ200 afterburning turbofan engines.

  • The Typhoon has advantages of its own, the  main one being speed. While both planes are  

  • capable of Mach 2 speeds, the smaller  and lighter Typhoon is able to climb at  

  • more than 62,000 feet per minute and can  reach max speeds of 1,550 miles per hour,  

  • compared to the Su-57's top speed  of just 1,320 miles per hour.

  • In today's highly advanced aerial theatre, speed  alone won't be enough to guarantee domination of  

  • the skies - aircraft also need to be able to avoid  detection. Being truly invisible is impossible,  

  • but modern stealth technology helps to make  it difficult to effectively track a plane.  

  • Air Forces around the world had been looking  for ways to avoid radar since World War II,  

  • and the development of new materials like  carbon-fibre and high-strength plastics  

  • in the 1960s and 70s kicked the stealth race  into high gear. The first-ever stealth program  

  • was announced by the U.S. in 1980, and their  first stealth planes - the F-117A Nighthawk  

  • ground attack fighter and the B2  bomber - were operational by 1983.

  • Aircraft designers achieve stealth with  a combination of passive low-observable  

  • features and active emitter technology. Passive  LO features include using unconventional shapes  

  • and avoiding right angles or large  surfaces to reduce radar reflection.  

  • These stealthy design features are at odds with  the principles of aerodynamics and supersonic  

  • speeds, meaning designers often have to choose  stealth at the expense of speed and agility.  

  • Active emitters, like radar, radio  and laser technology, are another  

  • layer of stealth protection designed to confuse  surveillance radar and camouflage the aircraft.

  • The Eurofighter Typhoon is not a true stealth  aircraft. Though it was designed with some  

  • features that make it less detectable by  radar, the Typhoon was built mainly for  

  • speed and maneuverability, and it's canard  delta wings limit the stealth features  

  • that can be used in the craft's design. The  Typhoon's stealth features include external  

  • weapons recessed into the fuselage and s-shaped  air-intakes to block the engines from radar.

  • The Su-57 will be the very first  stealth aircraft in Russian history.  

  • The aircraft's planform edge alignment was  designed to reduce radar cross section,  

  • and the plane's leading and trailing  edges are serrated and carefully angled  

  • to limit detection. The craft is also  treated with a radar-absorbent material.  

  • Still, experts have pointed out some issues with  the plane's fuselage shape, seams and rivets,  

  • making the Su-57 less stealthy than the F22,  arguably the world's stealthiest aircraft.

  • When it comes to stealth, it appears that  the Su-57 has the edge in technology,  

  • though what the Typhoon lacks in stealth it  more than makes up for in maneuverability.  

  • Of course, speed and stealth are importantbut you can't make an accurate comparison  

  • between two war machines without  taking a look at their payload.

  • The Eurofighter Typhoon is equipped with  13 hardpoints and can be outfitted with a  

  • huge array of weapons for any type of mission. The  Typhoon boasts a 27mm Mauser BK-27 revolver cannon  

  • holding 150 rounds, and can carry nearly 20,000  pounds of additional payload. The Typhoon can  

  • handle air-to-air missiles, like the Sidewinder  and the Meteor, as well as air-to-surface missiles  

  • like the Storm Shadow and Brimstone. It is  also equipped to handle various types of bombs,  

  • like the laser-guided Spice 250 (two fifty),  with more bombs currently in development.

  • The Su-57 is equipped with a 30mm Gryazev-Shipunov  Gsh-30-1 autocannon and has 6 interior and 6  

  • exterior hardpoints to handle additional weaponsThe Russians have designed the Su-57 to handle a  

  • variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground missilesas well as anti-ship and anti-radiation weapons,  

  • although most of these more advanced  weapons are still in development.  

  • Despite being the larger aircraft, the Su-57 can  only carry just over 16,000 pounds of ordinance,  

  • giving the slight advantage to  the Typhoon in terms of weaponry.

  • So, now that we know more about the Russian  Su-57 versus the Eurofighter Typhoon,  

  • how would these aircraft fare in head-to-head  combat? The two planes are comparable in terms  

  • of weaponry, but if Russia's claims about it's  new stealth fighter jet prove true, they might  

  • just be able to claim stealth superiorityat least over the Typhoon. The Eurofighter  

  • has superior speed and maneuverabilitynot to mention a more proven track record.

  • The Russian Su-57 certainly sounds like an  impressive piece of aviation machinery, but it's  

  • just too new and untested to draw a conclusive  comparison between it and the well-established  

  • Typhoon. Plus, between India backing out of their  deal and the crash of the first production plane,  

  • it leaves many doubts about the Russian program  and plane. The Typhoon has some problems of its  

  • own, not least of which is a lack of stealth  technology, but it has proven itself to be  

  • a capable and agile aircraft in combat. With  hundreds more Typhoons in service in multiple  

  • countries, and the backing of Europe's brightest  aviation minds, we'd have to give the edge to the  

  • Typhoon. It's important to remember, though, that  in an age of such tight technological competition,  

  • the key difference maker might very well  be the man (or woman) behind the machine.

  • When it comes tototal air superiority”,  only time will tell who will claim dominance.  

  • The rate of aerial innovation  shows no signs of slowing down,  

  • and with 6th generation aircraft on the  horizon, we can expect to see continual  

  • improvements like supersonic speed, adaptive  shapes and dual-mode engine technologies.  

  • We can only hope that the competition to build the  best fighter planes will prove distracting enough  

  • to keep the world's air forces from actually using  their new toys and trying to prove it in the air!

  • If you liked this video, be sure and check out  our other videos, like this video calledUS  

  • Police vs. US Military - Which is More Heavily  Armed?”, or you might like this other video.

In the modern aerial combat theatre,as countries  vie for total domination of the skies, innovation  

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Russian SU-57 vs Eurofighter Typhoon - Which Fighter Jet Wins?

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    Summer posted on 2020/12/08
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