New PAK FA Weapons Include Rectangular Shaped Missiles
Apart from having more powerful jet engines, Russia's new Sukhoi PAK FA stealth fighter will come with a number of new air-to-ground missiles whose rectangular fuselages make them stealthier than conventional tubular shaped missiles.
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The square cross section of these new missiles also means more of them can be mounted inside the PAK FA's two internal weapons bays.
"As part of the 'stealth' concept, special missiles for the PAK FA are being developed, with a square cross section that will allow more warheads to be carried in hatches during combat missions," said Vadim Kozyulin, Professor at the Academy of Military Sciences in Moscow.
Prototypes of these square missiles were publicly revealed in late 2015 and work on them is progressing. Among these oddly shaped stealth missiles being developed for PAK FA and the proposed PAK DA stealth bomber are the Kh-59МK2 cruise missile and Kh-58UShKA anti-radar missile.
Russian media described these missiles as compact and redesigned versions of existing missiles deeply modernized to satisfy the needs of the PAK FA.
The Kh-59MK2 stealth standoff missile is a lightweight but compact tactical stealth air launched cruise missile with a range of 550 km. It measures 0.4 meters by 0.4 meters in section and is only 4.2 meters long.
This missile can be launched from between an altitude of 200 meters to 11 km, delivering its 310 kg warhead to a target at a speed of up to 1,000 km/h.
The other square-shaped missile, the Kh-58UShKA, is a stealth variant of the Kh-58UShKE anti-radiation supersonic missile and is designed for use by PAK FA and PAK DA. The missile has an angular, compact airframe and a stealth coating to minimize its radar cross section.
It has folding wings so it can fit into a PAK FA's inner weapons bays. The existence of the Kh-58UShKA missile developed by Raduga was only revealed in October 2015. This missile can fly its 150 kg warhead at speeds of up to Mach 3 (3,600 km/h).
In addition, PAK FA can also be armed with conventionally shaped missiles such as the K-74M2 short-range air-to-air missile and the K-77M medium range, active radar homing air-to-air missile.