Russian media reported that a new long-range cruise missile has been developed for the Su-57 fighter jet, which is considered to be of the fifth generation. The missile will be carried internally, and is said to have a range comparable to that of missiles carried by Tu-160 and Tu-95MS bombers, despite being smaller.
The exact dimensions of the Su-57 jet’s internal weapons bays are unknown, but it is believed that there are four of them: two large bays in the center of the fuselage, and two smaller bays in the wings for air-to-air missiles.
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Russia has already integrated the Kh-59MK2 guided missile, which is 4.2 meters long, into the Su-54’s internal weapons bay. It is likely that this is the maximum length of weapon that can be carried internally on the Su-57, as the Kh-59MK2 was specifically shortened from 5.7 meters for this purpose.
Russia claims that its new cruise missile, which is similar in size to the Kh-555 and Kh-101 missiles, has a comparable range. The Kh-555 has a range of 2,500 km and is 6 meters long, while the Kh-101 has a range of 5,500 km and is 7.45 meters long.
It is doubtful that the new russian cruise missile can achieve a range of 2,500 km, given that the Kh-59MK2 missile, which is 4.2 meters long and has a starting weight of 900 kg, has a range of 285 km. Russia claims that the significant reduction in dimensions was achieved by creating an “ideally optimized design of a complex wing, internal layout and a new dual-cycle turbojet engine”. However, the United States is currently developing the AGM-158 JASSM-XR cruise missile, which is also 4.2 meters long but has a range of 1,900 km. The existing JASSM-ER missile has a range of 900 km and a length of 4.28 meters, but it does not fit into the internal compartments of the F-35 fighter jet.
So even the future American JASSM-XR cruise missile, which is too large to fit in the Su-57 jet’s internal weapons bays, does not have the same range as the new russian cruise missile that russia claims is being developed for the Su-57.
Russia’s Kh-50 missile (also known as Kh-SD missile) has failed to meet expectations as well. Despite being scheduled to start production in the summer of 2023, there has been no news about it since. According to the declared specifications, it is 6 meters long, weighs 1,600 kg and has a range of 1,500 km.
So russia’s claim that it has developed a cruise missile with a range of 1,500 km that can be carried internally by the Su-57 aircraft is highly unlikely. This is beyond the current and even future capabilities of the russian military-industrial complex.
Russia has likely completed one stage of development for the Kh-59MK2 cruise missile, which is designed to fit in the Su-57 fighter jet. However, this missile is not yet in mass production and is not a long-range cruise missile. Moreover, there is a significant gap in time and money between completing development and starting mass production.
Given the small number of Su-57s in service with the russian Air Force, the serial Kh-59MK missile is a greater threat to Ukraine. This missile is already in mass production and is regularly used by russian aircraft such as the Su-30, Su-34 and Su-35.
Read more: The Defense Intelligence of Ukraine Reveals the Details of Attack on the Kh-59 Missiles Manufacturing Facility