GarryB wrote:Even if they make 300 it wont be enough to replace all the Su-30 and Su-35s they have, and I really don't think they need to.
They are about to make numbers of light fighters in the form of the MiG-35, while working on a light 5th gen stealth fighter to operate with it... the focus of both would be low cost operations... now you do the math... if they plan to have say 300 Su-57s along with the same or perhaps double that number of S-70 drones, and they expect to still have perhaps 300 Su-30 and Su-35 large heavy aircraft, that is about 1200 platforms... but the lighter cheaper aircraft... 4th and 5th gen light fighters are supposed to be your numbers fighters so there is a good chance they will be ultimately wanting at least 1200 light fighters too... including 4th and 5th gen fighters as well as 5th gen drones... with perhaps more drones than fighters, but we are still talking large numbers of aircraft... but then they have a lot of airspace to cover.
The real question is what form will these new light 5th gen fighters be in... the new Checkmate, or something new from MiG that is essentially a stealthy LIFT with one engine... or the carrier based fighter they have revealed which just looks like a twin engined checkmate.
The trick is that those numbers will never operate at the same time. So despite the VKS needing to grow in numbers significantly (more even so, once cheaper UCAVs start "saturating" the fleet as the Russians say), the 5G fighters will start substituting the 3 and 4G ones, first the Su-24, MiG-29, Su-27. By then, the production lines will be already loaded with 5G fighters and 4.5G ones will not be purchased any more. As the number of 5G planes grows, the fleet will grow in the beginning and then older airframes of the 4.5G will be substituted too. 150-200x Su-57, 300-400x S-70, 300-400x LTS (manned and unmanned) would be a very serious force already (750-1000 fighters and strike planes), but perfectly realistic in the long term IMHO. Russia today already has almost 250x Su-35 + Su-30, ca. 200x Su-34 + Su-24, plus > 50 Su-27 + Mig-29, that is already 500 units, without still having totally recovered from the 90's, with the advantage that the new composition would be integrated by a majority of unmanned / light / single engine planes with significantly lower purchasing and operational costs than the current fleet.