GarryB wrote:I suspect by Serial models I think they mean they think it is ready for service and combat the way it is now and that they don't foresee major upgrades or changes except bug fixes or improvements in the way it is made to make it cheaper or quicker to make.
Ie it has passed tests and has been cleared for production... it will most likely get several changes and upgrades through its operational life but for now it is ready for active service use.
Meaning of "first serial" is always the same for all late Sov/Rus plane.
They are the proof-of-concept planes built during Industrialization Phase.
It means that differently from prototypes, that are unique models build using provisional, ad hoc components and assembled manually at the bench at their respective Design Bureau plant, they are serial items assembled using serially made components but made on purpose of setting up and optimize the assembly line at the APO that have won the large scale production contract.
They were usually followed by a pilot batch destined to cover the OCU (usually at Lipetsk) and the Experimental units, one will train the new pilots and the other would be used both to explore technical limits of the platform and to set up the tactics that would allow the full possibilities of the new platform.
So, in this case i will say:v2 First Serial consigned, a pilot series of eight in production and an initial prevision of total serial production but still not a signed contract for it.