Russia Tests New Avionics on PAK FA

The Sukhoi Company confirmed it has started conducting extensive tests on the new Integrated Modular Avionics of Combat Systems — IMA BK — on the new Russian fifth-generation stealth fighter T-50 PAK FA.

The New IMA BK display. (Credit: @UAC_Russia)
The New IMA BK display. (Credit: @UAC_Russia)

After more than four years of research, the new Integrated Modular Avionics of Combat Systems is ready for trials and is a significant step forward in the development of Russia’s first stealth fighter.

As a matter of fact, the IMA BK will enable the PAK FA pilots to use an advanced computer system that will offer them intellectual support while flying combat missions.

Designed to replace the Baget digital computer system, the software has more than 4 million lines of code that pushes the aircraft control to a whole new level. The system uses Russian-made multicore chips and also a Russian-made real-time operating system (OS).

The new IMA BK Flight Management System (left) compared to the older Baget digital computer system (Credit: @UAC_Russia)
The new IMA BK Flight Management System (left) compared to the older Baget digital computer system
(Credit: @UAC_Russia)

The PAK FA will rely on fiber-optic lines that can transfer information at more than 8 Gbps instead of copper cables, and can switch to different systems in case of a failure. Fiber-optic lines also enhance the aircraft immunity to electronic countermeasures.

According to, “the T-50’s integrated avionics suite, the central computer controls the aircraft systems, weapons employment and self-defence and provides multifaceted intellectual support for the pilot. The central computer triple-hatted as electronic pilot, electronic navigator and electronic flight engineer, performs real-time automatic target identification and prioritization, optimal route plotting, optimal weapons use and self-defence, and system reconfiguration in case of failure. The cutting-edge control system assumes control of almost all key instruments of the fighter – the radars, navigational aids and communications, while each of the systems of the preceding aircraft prototype called for a computer of its own.” (sic)

According to Dmitry Gribov, chief designer and avionics suite integration director, the IMA BK system is unique.

“The new system is advanced and unique indeed,” Gribov says. “For the first time, we have not followed the path beaten by others, but have come up with a sophisticated architecture of our own that we shall keep on refining to develop networked avionics by upgrading the systems one after another. Multicore chips afford us virtually unlimited abilities to design fail-safe configurations while reducing weight, power consumption and costs.”


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Jonathan Wade, CD

Jonathan Wade is the director of the ‘The Sentinel Analytical Group’ and a decorated veteran of the Canadian Forces. Specialized in tactical, strategic, intelligence and geopolitics analysis, Jonathan has a fondness for technical details. His military experience brought him valuable insight on the realities of conflicts and war. A combat veteran of Afghanistan, Jonathan brings in in-theatre experience. Jonathan writes about Russia, Canada and Arctic.