Ã¢â¬ÅThere are some problems with funding for the fifth-generation fighter, but they to a lesser extent apply to the defence ministry rather than to Sukhoi,Ã¢â¬Â Mikhailov says. Ã¢â¬ÅIn parallel, Sukhoi is working on the civilian RRJ, which needs much money. They have taken some funds that might otherwise have gone to the combat aircraft and put them into the RRJ, hence the financial problems.Ã¢â¬Â
Nevertheless, Mikhailov says work on SukhoiÃ¢â¬â¢s T-50 next-generation fighter project is Ã¢â¬Ågenerally on trackÃ¢â¬Â, with the airframeÃ¢â¬â¢s configuration now having been frozen. A prototype of the aircraft Ã¢â¬â selected to meet the air forceÃ¢â¬â¢s fifth-generation fighter requirement Ã¢â¬â is expected to fly next year, he says.
Mikhailov reveals the air force is also considering backing the development of Ã¢â¬Åa lighter aircraft with the same avionics and engine, but with one engine rather than twoÃ¢â¬Â. The lightweight variant would be cheaper to acquire, could fly from shorter airfields and carry four missiles against the T-50Ã¢â¬â¢s maximum of 12, he says. The proposal is linked to an Indian requirement for a new fighter in the 20-25t class.