UAC: Improved Il-78 tanker flight tested

The improved United Aircraft (UAC) Ilyushin Il-78M-90A tanker commenced factory flight testing with a debut sortie conducted from the Aviastar SP production site in Ulyanovsk. Key changes implemented with the updated model include a new wing with increased fuel capacity and Perm PS-90A-76 engines, in common with the -90A version of the Il-76 transport. 

Besides its enhanced tanker performance, the new model can also be used as a transport vehicle by removing its additional on-board fuel tanks. The -90A also has new navigation systems that will enable it to be operated in international airspace in accordance with civilian requirements.

Testing of Su-57 Avionics ‘Complex’ complete

The communications, navigation and surveillance systems featured on the Su-57 are described as an integrated avionics “complex” featuring a network centric architecture with a unique approach to embedded computer processing and data transmission. The Su-57 will eventually replace Russia’s multi-purpose all-weather fourth generation Su-27 fighter jet fleet.

“From the perspective of electronics engineers, modern fighters have already reached a level where a sharp growth of their capabilities is no longer possible. However, we know that modernisation of their frames and engines could lead to a 20–30 percent advantage in superiority over their predecessors. At the same time, the design of new ‘brains’ or avionics – could result in an increase of their efficiency and combat capabilities by several times,” stated the deputy director general for research and development of on-board equipment of the Radioelectronic Technologies Concern. The new complex is based on Russian multi-core chips and an operating system, which works within a “real-time” mode in close communications with other fighter jets, military transport aircraft and ground forces. This provides an opportunity to not only to exchange information with other fighters, but also to perform a lead role, giving orders and setting priorities during the attack.

Prior to each Su-57 flight, a special flight programme is prepared and loaded into the flight management computer. The programme comprises intelligence data, information about weapon systems of the target, its coordinates and other relevant data. This programme can also be adjusted during the execution of a combat mission at any time. Sukhoi Design Bureau engineers describe the Su-57 avionics as featuring a central computer which controls all of the aircraft systems, including weapons and intellectual support of the pilot. The computer simultaneously performs the role of an electronic pilot, an electronic navigator and an electronic flight engineer capable of automatically recognising and determining adversaries and targets. In addition, it is capable of planning the most optimal route to an objective.

Data exchange for Su-57 onboard systems are conducted via fiber-optic channels. The fourth-to-fifth generation transition from copper to optical fiber allowed the designers to significantly increase the speed and volume of data transmission, while reducing the weight of the cable network and improving its noise immunity.