Message posted by Alex (UK) on March 03, 2008 at 13:45:07 PST:
In terms of aviation, id say the russians certainly have the resources to build extraordinary aircraft, just not the finance. Im a great fan of the Russian air force, and i prefer my MiG 29's and Su-27's to F15s, my Su-37 to the F22. But the russian aerospace industry is in a mess at the moment, still reeling from the collapse of communism, still suffering from communist era air force doctrine. Its financial situation is far from good, case in point Sukhoi's technology demonstrators, the Su-37 "Super Flanker" and the Su-47 "Berkut". Both fantastic aircraft, the Su-37, in my opinion, would be more than a match for "western" fighters, but although flying versions of these aircraft have been built, full scale production is unrealistic. Sukhoi seem to rely heavily on export markets, who constantly seem to dither about purchase orders of new fighter jets. Plus the defense requirments of these nations is smaller, therefore brings in far less capital to the Russian industries than that of a full scale order by their own airforce, leaving these companies desperately short of cash. A small source of income comes from selling basic models of fighters to ex soviet satellite states for spare parts etc, but this barely covers the cost of new developments etc. Despite all this, I wouldnt be surprised if the russians had themselves a stealth aircraft, their technology has come on quite well, thrust vectoring has worked its way onto improved MiG 29's, the Su-37 etc, and works incredibly well. Plus they have had the whole of the cold war staring at the western aviation industry, and id be extremely surprised if they havent picked up a thing or 2 just by carefully observing. However, although it is reasonable to say that the russians have a stealth aircraft of some sort, whether it poses any threat is unlikely. If it exists it is probably stored in a hangar, covered in dust sheets, worked on rarely, scrounging off the shelf parts from decade old fighters. The way the russian air force presents itself is similar to that of the way the gestapo protrayed themselves in nazi germany. They may seem to have terrifying strength and ability, but look closer and youll see the edges are frayed. Unless the russian military manages to FULLY recover from the collapse of communism, and of the financial dire straights, it is unlikely that even a decade from now, the russians will have the ability to put anything surpassing NATO standards into the sky.
Hope this helps,
Comrade Алекс (UK)
In Reply to: Soviet Stealth posted by John on March 03, 2008 at 11:34:44 PST: