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See the First Leaked Photos of Russia’s Secret New Fighter Jet


    Aviation enthusiasts spotted Russia’s secret new fighter jet shortly after the plane’s manufacturer began teasing its reveal. Observers noticed the jet, draped in black fabric, adjacent to a large hangar.

    The covering is just form-fitting enough to show off some of the fighter’s interesting details, building up anticipation before the official reveal on July 20.

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    Last week, United Aerospace Company, an umbrella corporation that includes the famed Mikoyan-Guervich (MiG) and Sukhoi design bureaus, posted the image below to Instagram. The aerospace company is comparing its new, unnamed fighter to a UFO, linking it to U.S. military’s sightings of unexplained aerial phenomena in recent years:

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    UAC also posted a second image of a knight chess piece flying above an aircraft cockpit. The cockpit canopy frame bears a suspicious resemblance to that of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the fighter involved in the Navy’s infamous UFO sightings. The post also promises that the “mystery will be revealed on July 20.”

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    Last week, Russian state media outlet TASS reported that UAC will unveil a “fundamentally new military plane” on the first day of MAKS-2021, Russia’s annual summer air show. That starts tomorrow.

    In advance of the reveal, plane spotters in Russia got a good look at the jet, which appears to have twin tails, a single engine, and a nose that appears similar to the Sukhoi Su-57.

    The report TASS said the new fighter will feature “low radar signatures in various bands, a high thrust-to-weight ratio, a large weapon payload, and advanced air-launched armaments.”

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    One Twitter user speculated the new fighter jet is built for aircraft carriers. The plane’s departure angle is relatively high compared to planes like the Su-57. This would allow the tail to avoid scraping the flight deck on high angle takeoffs, particularly from aircraft carriers equipped with ski ramps. Russia, India, and China all have such carriers.

    The secret Sukhoi fighter is Russia’s first new single-engine fighter in more than 50 years, if you count planes developed by the Soviet Union, going all the way back to the MiG-23 “Flogger” fighter jet. It’s also the country’s second fifth-generation fighter, arriving 11 years after the debut of the Sukhoi Su-57 heavy fighter.

    While Russia will unveil the fighter tomorrow, what’s less clear is when the jet will actually show up in the Russian Aerospace Forces’ (RuAF) inventory. Russia first announced the Su-57 in 2010, but the RuAF received only its second Su-57 in January 2021. The production problems were so severe, in fact, that India dropped out of a program to develop a derivative especially for the Indian Air Force. Russia is now ordering just 76 Su-57s.


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