Russia will equip its fifth-generation Sukhoi T-50 stealth fighter with missiles that can travel at Mach 3.5 speeds, roughly around 2,302 mph. The newly designed X-58USHK missile, which will be fitted to the T-50 when it enters service in 2016, is one of the fastest combat weapons ever produced. It is also viewed as a future top-selling defense item owing to its speed, characteristics and small size, the Russian government-backed news agency Tass reported Wednesday.
"The X-58USHK missile for the fifth-generation fighter is at the final stages of development. ... The flight speed will exceed 3.5 Mach," said Boris Obnosov, CEO of Tactical Missiles Corporation, the company manufacturing the missile.
Russia has been aggressively modernizing its military over the past five years and will invest a total of $400 billion by the time it completes the transformation in 2020. Along with modernization and the development of new weapons and equipment, Russia has strengthened its position as the world’s second-biggest arms exporter. This year, the country is expected to complete more than $13 billion worth of arms deals, taking around 27 percent of the entire global market -- just behind the U.S. with 31 percent, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says.
The Sukhoi T-50, which Russia is developing with the Indian military at a cost between $8 billion and $10 billion, is slated to become one of the most advanced stealth fighter jets, alongside the U.S.-built F-22 Raptor, which was introduced in 2005.
While the U.S. is still developing variants of its F-35 jet, which is described as a stealth multi-role fighter, it’s not yet fully known how the jet will compare to Russia’s much cheaper T-50. Overall program costs for the F-35 are around the $1.5 trillion mark.