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Russia’s fifth generation SU-57 fighter flies successfully for first time with new engine

Alexander Mercouris

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The Russian authorities have confirmed that on 5th December 2017 Russia’s new fifth generation SU-57 fighter jet carried out its first successful flight test with its new definitive Isdeliye 30 (ie. product 30) engine.

The successful flight test was confirmed by Russian Industry Minister Denis Manturov on Tuesday 5th December 2017

A successful flight with a new engine gives an additional boost to the program of the 5th generation fighter. This is proof of the high potential of Russian aircraft building, capable of creating highly intelligent advanced systems – a unique glider, innovative digital avionics and the latest engines

The Russians have released only limited information about the Isdeliye 30 engine.  However it is known to be significantly more powerful than the AL-41F1 engine which has been powering prototype and test versions of the SU-57 up to now.

Sputnik says that the Isdeliye 30 engine has a power rating (obviously with afterburner) of 19,000 kgf as compared with 15,000 kgf for the AL-41F1.

Other sources give power ratings for the Isdeliye 30 of 108 kN (24,086 lbf) of dry thrust and 178 kN (39,680 lbf) in afterburner, as compared with 93.1 kN (21,000 lbf) of dry thrust and 147.1 kN (33,067 lbf) in afterburner for the AL-41F1.

The new engine is also said to be significantly lighter than the older AL-41F1, and to have been designed by NPO Saturn in Rybinsk, the design bureau which traditionally provides the engines which power Russia’s Sukhoi fighters.

It has always been the intention that the Isdeliye 30 would be the SU-57’s definitive engine.

All discussions of the SU-57, and all comparisons of the SU-57’s performance with those of the US’s F-22 and F-35, which are based on the SU-57 flying with the older, heavier and less powerful AL-41F1 engine used by the test aircraft are misleading and invalid, and should be ignored.

The Russians claim that with the Isdeliye 30 engine the SU-57’s flight performance surpasses that of any other fifth generation fighter planned or in service, including the F-22 and the F-35, and there is no reason to doubt this.

The SU-57 programme has recently been the subject of much confusion stemming from a previous decision of the Russian Aerospace Forces to field the SU-57 with AL-41F1 engines until the new Isdeliye 30 engine became available from about 2022 .

The idea was that between now and 2022 the Russian Aerospace Forces would introduce the SU-57 into service with the AL-41F1 engine, and would then remove the AL-41F1 engines from the SU-57s when the new Isdeliye 30 engines became available so as to replace them with Isdeliye 30s.

That plan has now been dropped, with the current plan being to deliver SU-57s to the regiments from 2020 with the new Isdeliye 30 engine already installed, procuring only a small batch of 12 SU-57s with AL-41F1 engines until then, and buying more SU-35 and SU-30 fighters in the meantime.

Inevitably this decision has led to some talk that the SU-57 programme has run into difficulties, supposedly causing the SU-57’s entry into service to be delayed until 2020.

The reality is almost the exact opposite.

The reason the previous plan to deploy SU-57s with AL-41F1 engines has been dropped, and the SU-57’s entry into service has been postponed until 2020, is that progress with the Isdeliye 30 engine has been much faster expected, making it possible to field the SU-57 with the Isdeliye 30 much earlier than was previously expected.

Given that the Isdeliye 30 engine is now expected to be available as early as 2020, it makes no sense to field the SU-57 for just two years without this engine, which is why its entry into service has been put off until then.

In the meantime the Russian Aerospace Forces will acquire more of the excellent SU-35s and SU-30s.  The point is that the SU-35 and SU-30 also use the AL-41F1 engine.  Since the engine is the single most expensive part of a fighter aircraft, it would be extremely wasteful to field SU-57s with AL-41F1 engines, and then throw away these expensive engines just a few years later when new Isdeliye 30 engines become available.

By contrast building more SU-35s and SU-30s with AL-41F1 engines makes perfect sense since not only will this provide the Russian Aerospace Forces with more of these excellent aircraft, but these aircraft can remain in service with their AL-41F1 engines until sufficient numbers of SU-57s with Isdeliye 30 engines become available to replace them, probably some time in the late 2020s.

At that point these SU-35s and SU-30s can be sold abroad.

It is precisely this sort of cost-effective and rational approach to military procurement which explains why Russian defence costs are so much lower than those of the US.

The two big remaining mysteries about the Isdeliye 30 engine are (1) it’s real name (the designation Isdeliye 30 – “product 30” – is not a name at all); and (2) why its development has proved to be so rapid.

A possible explanation for the speed of its development is that the Isdeliye 30 engine may have its roots in an engine NPO Saturn is known to have started developing in 1982 for the aborted MiG 1.44 project.

Confusingly this engine was also called the AL-41, though it is a completely different engine from the AL-41F1 engine which currently powers the SU-35 and SU-30 and the test versions of the SU-57.

The AL-41F1 engine is in fact an advanced version of the AL-31 engine developed by NPO Saturn in the 1970s for the SU-27, which first entered service in 1981.  NPO Saturn’s decision to call this engine AL-41F1, though obviously intended to hark back to the entirely different AL-41 of the 1980s, is actually somewhat misleading, since it has obscured the AL-41F1’s origins in the earlier AL-31.

The AL-41 engine that was to have powered the MiG 1.44 is claimed by some sources to have had a power rating of 39,680 lbf in afterburner, which is exactly the same as the power rating in afterburner some sources give for the Isdeliye 30.  That suggests that the two engines are related to each other, with the later engine possibly taking some of its design cues and concepts from the earlier engine.

If so, then given that considerable work was apparently done on the AL-41 engine in the 1980s – including apparently a test flight on a MiG-25 aircraft – that might explain why the Isdeliye 30‘s development has been so fast.

If the Isdeliye 30 ultimately stems from the AL-41, that might also explain why the Russians have not yet disclosed its true name.  Conceivably it too might originally have been “AL-41”.

The Isdeliye 30 engine will not however be the same engine as the AL-41 engine of the 1980s.  The period since the 1980s has witnessed huge advances in aircraft engine technology.  Even if NPO Saturn has taken the AL-41 as its starting point for the Isdeliye 30 engine, the Isdeliye 30 engine will certainly benefit from these advances and any resemblance between the Isdeliye 30 and the AL-41 of the 1980s will be superficial.

Doubtless it is these technological advances which explain why the Isdeliye 30 is said to be so much lighter than existing engines, with some reports saying that it is a third lighter than the AL-41F1.

Regardless of the design history of the Isdeliye 30, the fact that it is now on flight test after what looks like a very rapid and trouble free design process is a considerable achievement .

It is a further sign of Russia’s recovery, not just as a military but also as a technological and industrial power.

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Kiev ‘Patriarch’ prepares to seize Moscow properties in Ukraine

Although Constantinople besought the Kiev church to stop property seizures, they were ignored and used, or perhaps, complicit.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The attack on the Eastern Orthodox Church, brought about by the US State Department and its proxies in Constantinople and Ukraine, is continuing. On October 20, 2018, the illegitimate “Kyiv (Kiev) Patriarchate”, led by Filaret Denisenko who is calling himself “Patriarch Filaret”, had a synodal meeting in which it changed the commemoration title of the leader of the church to include the Kyiv Caves and Pochaev Lavras.

This is a problem because Metropolitan Onuphry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is canonically accepted and acts as a very autonomous church under the Moscow Patriarchate has these places under his pastoral care.

This move takes place only one week after Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople unilaterally (and illegally) lifted the excommunications, depositions (removal from priestly ranks as punishment) and anathemas against Filaret and Makary that were imposed on them by the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate.

These two censures are very serious matters in the Orthodox Church. Excommunication means that the person or church so considered cannot receive Holy Communion or any of the other Mysteries (called Sacraments in the West) in a neighboring local Orthodox Church. Anathema is even more serious, for this happens when a cleric disregards his excommunication and deposition (removal from the priesthood), and acts as a priest or a bishop anyway.

Filaret Denisenko received all these censures in 1992, and Patriarch Bartholomew accepted this decision at the time, as stated in a letter he sent to Moscow shortly after the censures. However, three years later, Patriarch Bartholomew received a group of Ukrainian autocephalist bishops called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA, who had been in communion with Filaret’s group. While this move may have been motivated by the factor of Bartholomew’s almost total isolation within Istanbul, Turkey, it is nonetheless non-canonical.

This year’s moves have far exceeded previous ones, though, and now the possibility for a real clash that could cost lives is raised. With Filaret’s “church” – really an agglomeration of Ukrainian ultranationalists and Neo-Nazis in the mix, plus millions of no doubt innocent Ukrainian faithful who are deluded about the problems of their church, challenging an existing arrangement regarding Ukraine and Russia’s two most holy sites, the results are not likely to be good at all.

Here is the report about today’s developments, reprinted in part from OrthoChristian.com:

Meeting today in Kiev, the Synod of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) has officially changed the title of its primate, “Patriarch” Philaret, to include the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras under his jurisdiction.

The primate’s new official title, as given on the site of the KP, is “His Holiness and Beatitude (name), Archbishop and Metropolitan of Kiev—Mother of the cities of Rus’, and Galicia, Patriarch of All Rus’-Ukraine, Svyaschenno-Archimandrite of the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras.”

…Thus, the KP Synod is declaring that “Patriarch” Philaret has jurisdiction over the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras, although they are canonically under the omophorion of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Philaret and his followers and nationalistic radicals have continually proclaimed that they will take the Lavras for themselves.

This claim to the ancient and venerable monasteries comes after the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced that it had removed the anathema placed upon Philaret by the Russian Orthodox Church and had restored him to his hierarchical office. Philaret was a metropolitan of the canonical Church, becoming patriarch in his schismatic organization.

Representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have clarified that they consider Philaret to be the “former Metropolitan of Kiev,” but he and his organization continue to consider him an active patriarch, with jurisdiction in Ukraine.

Constantinople’s statement also appealed to all in Ukraine to “avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties,” which the Synod of the KP ignored in today’s decision.

The KP primate’s abbreviated title will be, “His Holiness (name), Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine,” and the acceptable form for relations with other Local Churches is “His Beatitude Archbishop (name), Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine.”

The Russian Orthodox Church broke eucharistic communion and all relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate over this matter earlier this week. Of the fourteen local Orthodox Churches recognized the world over, twelve have expressed the viewpoint that Constantinople’s move was in violation of the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church. Only one local Church supported Constantinople wholeheartedly, and all jurisdictions except Constantinople have appealed for an interOrthodox Synod to address and solve the Ukrainian matter in a legitimate manner.

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Massacre in Crimea kills dozens, many in critical condition

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

The Duran

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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Russian Orthodox Church officially breaks ties with Constantinople

Biggest separation in almost 1,000 years as world’s largest Orthodox Church cuts communion with Constantinople over legitimizing schismatics.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The schism between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate became official today, October 15, 2018, as the Russian Holy Synod reviewed the recent granting of communion to two schismatic groups in Ukraine, pursuant to Constantinople’s intent to grant autocephaly (full self-rule, or independence) to the agglomeration of these groups.

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RT reported that the Synod ruled that any further clerical relations with Constantinople are impossible, given the current conditions. Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev told journalists today about the breach in relations:

“A decision about the full break of relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate has been taken at a Synod meeting” that is currently been held in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, Hilarion said, as cited by TASS.

The move comes days after the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate decided to eventually grant the so-called autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, thus making the clerical organization, which earlier enjoyed a broad autonomy within the Moscow Patriarchate, fully independent.

The Moscow Patriarchate also said that it would not abide by any decisions taken by Constantinople and related to the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “All these decisions are unlawful and canonically void,” Hilarion said, adding that “the Russian Orthodox Church does not recognize these decisions and will not follow them.”

At the same time, the Russian Church expressed its hope that “a common sense will prevail” and Constantinople will change its decision. However, it still accused the Ecumenical Patriarch of initiating the “schism.”

The marks the most significant split in the Orthodox Church since the Great Schism of 1054, in which Rome excommunicated Constantinople, a breach between the Roman Catholics and Orthodox which has persisted ever since then, becoming hardened and embittered after the Roman Catholic armies sacked Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204.

Many other local Orthodox Churches expressed support for the Moscow Patriarchate’s position prior to today’s announcement, but the break in relations between these two churches does not have any known affect on local churches who hold communion with both Moscow and the Ecumenical Patriarchate at this time.

The website Orthochristian.com ran the entire statement of the Holy Synod regarding this situation. We offer a brief summary of statements here, taken from that source and patriarcha.ru, adding emphasis.

With deepest pain, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church received the message of the Patriarchate of Constantinople published on October 11, 2018 about the decisions adopted by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople: on the confirmation of the intention to “grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church”; on the opening of the “stavropegion” of the Patriarch of Constantinople in Kiev; on the “restoration in the hierarchal or priestly rank” of the leaders of the Ukrainian schism and their followers and the “return of their faithful to Church communion”; and on the “cancellation of the action” of the conciliar charter of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1686 concerning the transfer of the Kiev Metropolia to the Moscow Patriarchate

The Synod of the Church of Constantinople made these decisions unilaterally, ignoring the calls of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the entirety of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as the fraternal Local Orthodox Churches, and their primates and bishops for pan-Orthodox discussion of the issue.

Entering into communion with those who have departed into schism, let alone those who have been excommunicated from the Church, is tantamount to departing into schism and is severely condemned by the canons of the holy Church: “If any one of the bishops, presbyters, or deacons, or any of the clergy shall be found communicating with excommunicated persons, let him also be excommunicated, as one who brings confusion on the order of the Church” (Canon 2 of the Council of Antioch; Canon 10, 11 of the Holy Apostles).

The decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the “restoration” of the canonical status and the reception into communion of the former Metropolitan Philaret Denisenko, excommunicated from the Church, ignores a number of successive decisions of the Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church, the legitimacy of which are beyond doubt.

By the decision of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Kharkov of May 27, 1992, Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko) was removed from the Kiev Cathedra and was banned from the clergy for not fulfilling the oath made by him before the cross and the Gospel at the previous Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.

By its ruling of June 11,1992, the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, confirmed the decision of the Kharkov Council and expelled Philaret Denisenko from his rank, depriving him of every degree of the priesthood on the following charges: “Cruel and arrogant attitude to the subordinate clergy, dictatorialness, and intimidation (Tit. 1:7-8; Canon 27 of the Holy Apostles); introducing temptation among the faithful by his behavior and personal life (Matthew 18:7; Canon 3 of the First Ecumenical Council, Canon 5 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council); oath-breaking (Canon 25 of the Holy Apostles); public slander and blasphemy against the Bishops’ Council (Canon 6 of the Second Ecumenical Council); the celebration of clerical functions, including ordinations, in a state of suspension (Canon 28 of the Holy Apostles); the perpetration of a schism in the Church (Canon 15 of the First-Second Council).” All ordinations performed by Philaret in a suspended state since May 27, 1992, and the punishments imposed by him, were declared invalid.

Despite repeated calls for repentance, after the deprivation of his hierarchal rank Philaret Denisenko continued his schismatic activity, including within the bounds of other Local Churches. By the ruling of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of 1997, he was given over to anathema.

The aforesaid decisions were recognized by all the Local Orthodox Churches, including the Church of Constantinople.

… Now, after more than two decades, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has changed its position for political reasons.

… St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain, in his Pedalion, which is an authoritative source of ecclesiastical-canonical law of the Church of Constantinople, interprets Canon 9 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, rejecting the false opinion on the right of Constantinople to consider appeals from other Churches: “The Primate of Constantinople does not have the right to act in the dioceses and provinces of other Patriarchs, and this rule did not give him the right to take appeals on any matter in the Ecumenical Church… “ Listing a whole range of arguments in favor of this interpretation, referring to the practice of the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, St. Nikodemos concludes: “At present … the Primate of Constantinople is the first, the only, and the last judge over the metropolitans subordinate to him—but not over those who are subject to the rest of the Patriarchs. For, as we said, the last and universal judge of all the Patriarchs is the Ecumenical Council and no one else.” It follows from the above that the Synod of the Church of Constantinople does not have canonical rights to withdraw judicial decisions rendered by the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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