Of the jets in production that promise to take military fighters deep into the 21st century and beyond, the U.S. F-35, the Chinese J-20, and the Russian Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA are at the top of the heap. Much like the F-35 is being sold to American allies, the Russians' T-50 will be offered to countries looking for an alternative to Lockheed Martin's fifth generation fighter.
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India is tasked with getting a propulsion system into the Russian design; once that's done and the kinks are ironed out, the Russians expect to sell about 1,000 fighters worldwide.
But those countries won't be training pilots any time soon. According to Russia’s Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT) the delivery schedule could be decades away for some purchasing nations. Malaysia won't get their delivery until 2035 at the earliest.
And if Americans thought they were alone in questioning the need for a fighter program, that by design seems a feature of the past, in today's drone-filled skies, many Russians question the need for their new fighter as well.
"There is no mission and no adversary for such plane," Russian defense analyst Konovalov says. "It would be more expedient to fit modern avionics to older generation jets."