Sukhoi Su-35

The Sukhoi Su-35 (Russian: Сухой Су-35; NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) is a designation for two separate, heavily upgraded derivatives of the Su-27 'Flanker'. They are single-seat, twin-engine, supermaneuverable multirole fighters, designed by Sukhoi and built by Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO). The Su-35 is also known as Super Flanker.

The first variant was designed during the 1980s, when Sukhoi was seeking to upgrade its high-performance Su-27, and was initially known as the Su-27M. Later re-designated Su-35, this derivative incorporated aerodynamic refinements to increase manoeuvrability, enhanced avionics, longer range, and more powerful engines. The first Su-35 prototype, converted from a Su-27, made its maiden flight in June 1988. More than a dozen of these were built, some of which were used by the Russian Knights aerobatic demonstration team. The first Su-35 design was later modified into the Su-37, which possessed thrust vectoring engines and was used as a technology demonstrator. A sole Su-35UB two-seat trainer was built in the late 1990s that strongly resembled the Su-30MK family.

In 2003, Sukhoi embarked on a second modernization of the Su-27 to produce what the company calls a 4++ generation fighter that would bridge the gap between legacy fighters and the upcoming fifth generation Sukhoi PAK FA. This derivative, while omitting the canards and air brake, incorporates a reinforced airframe, improved avionics and radar, thrust-vectoring engines, and a reduced frontal radar signature. In 2008 the revamped variant, erroneously named the Su-35BM in the media, began its flight test programme that would involve four prototypes, one of which was lost in 2009.

The Russian Air Force has ordered 48 production units, designated Su-35S, of the newly revamped Su-35. Both Su-35 models are marketed to many countries, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and South Korea, but so far have not attracted any export orders. Sukhoi originally projected that it would export more than 160 units of the second modernized Su-35 worldwide.

Sukhoi Su-35
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Sukhoi
Origin Russia (USSR)
Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 2008
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Russia (USSR) View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Sukhoi 2007 34 View

Three production Su-27Ms were completed and delivered to VVS in 1996 for testing. They were operated by 929th State Flight Test Center (abbreviated as GLITS in Russian) at Vladimirovka Air Base, Akhtubinsk, performing weapons trials. During one such flights, a weapon pylon, to which a bomb and rocket were attached, fell into a village in Ryazan; nobody was hurt. In 2001, the Air Force decided that the aerobatics team Russian Knights would receive several Su-27Ms, presumably from GLITS and Sukhoi. After pilots from the team undertook conversion course at Vladimirovka AB, the first of five aircraft was delivered to the team in July 2003. It was expected that the Su-27Ms would enhance the flying repertoire of their new owners, but due to various reasons, they were used as a source of spare parts for other aircraft in the demonstration fleet.

In late May 2011, Sukhoi flew the first Su-35S to the Defence Ministry's 929th State Flight Test Centre at Akhtubinsk prior to states joint tests conducted to prepare the aircraft for operational service with the VVS. Official trials commenced in mid-August with the two Su-35 prototypes, before being joined by production aircraft. As of March 2012, four Su-35S units were involved in such tests, operating alongside the two flying prototypes. These Su-35s had by April and August 2012, completed 500 and 650 test flights, respectively.

On 28 December 2012, Sukhoi delivered a batch of six serial production Su-35S fighters to the VVS. Defence Ministry officials accepted the aircraft at KnAAPO's manufacturing plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia. Five of the six Su-35S delivered in December went to the Gromov Flight Research Institute, where in February 2013 an eighteen-month programme began to test the Su-35's ability to conduct highly maneuverable short-range combat. The programme consists of three components, which are dogfights; the use of weapons and the ability to evade enemy fire; and the ability to destroy helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. State-acceptance trials would conclude in 2015, by which time a second 48-aircraft order is expected to have been signed with the VVS. Another 12 Su-35S fighters were delivered in 2013.

In December 2012, Russian officials commented that the Swifts and Russian Knights aerobatics teams would receive new aircraft to replace the Mikoyan MiG-29 and Su-27, respectively. The Swifts was expected to receive the Su-30SM and the Russian Knights receive the Su-35. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin commented the upgrade was to "show to the world not only the inimitable skill of our pilots, but also the talent of our aircraft designers who despite all the problems of the past decades, are willing to give us new reasons to be proud of their country.". Russian Air Force received another 12 Su-35S multirole fighters on 12 February 2014 to be deployed with an air regiment based in Russia’s Far East. The Defense Ministry ordered 48 of the aircraft in 2009, of which 34 have been delivered so far. The final deliveries of the remaining 14 are due in 2015. In December 2013 the Russian Air Force also received 12 Su-35s.

Role Multirole Air superiority fighter
National origin Soviet Union
Russia
Design group Sukhoi
Built by Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO)
First flight Su-27M: 28 June 1988
Su-35: 19 February 2008
Status In service
Primary user Russian Air Force
Produced Su-27M: 1988–95
Su-35: 2007–present
Number built Su-27M: 15
Su-35S: 34
Unit cost US$40 million to $65 million (estimated)
Developed from Sukhoi Su-27
Variants Sukhoi Su-37


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1

  • Length: 21.9 m (72.9 ft)

  • Wingspan: 15.3 m (50.2 ft, with wingtip pods)

  • Height: 5.90 m (19.4 ft)

  • Wing area: 62.0 m² (667 ft²)

  • Empty weight: 18,400 kg (40,570 lb)

  • Loaded weight: 25,300 kg (56,660 lb) at 50% internal fuel

  • Max. takeoff weight: 34,500 kg (76,060 lb)

  • Powerplant: 2 × Saturn 117S (AL-41F1S) turbofan with thrust vectoring nozzle

    • Dry thrust: 8,800 kgf (86.3 kN, 19,400 lbf) each

    • Thrust with afterburner: 14,500 kgf (142 kN, 31,900 lbf) each

  • Fuel capacity: 11,500 kg (25,400 lb) internally

Performance

  • Maximum speed:

    • At altitude: Mach 2.25 (2,390 km/h, 1,490 mph)

    • At sea level: Mach 1.15 (1,400 km/h, 870 mph)

  • Range:

    • At altitude: 3,600 km (1,940 nmi)

    • At sea level: 1,580 km (850 nmi)

  • Ferry range: 4,500 km (2,430 nmi) with 2 external fuel tanks

  • Service ceiling: 18,000 m (59,100 ft)

  • Rate of climb: >280 m/s (>55,000 ft/min)

  • Wing loading: 408 kg/m² (500.8 kg/m² with full internal fuel) (84.9 lb/ft² 50% fuel)

  • Thrust/weight: 1.126 at 50% fuel (0.92 with full internal fuel)

  • Maximum g-load: +9 g

Armament

  • Guns: 1× 30 mm GSh-30 internal cannon with 150 rounds

  • Hardpoints: 12 hardpoints, consisting of 2 wingtip rails, and 10 wing and fuselage stations with a capacity of 8,000 kg (17,630 lb) of ordnance, and provisions to carry combinations of:

    • Rockets:

      • S-25L laser-guided rocket

      • S-25 unguided rocket

      • B-8 unguided S-8 rocket pods

      • B-13 unguided S-13 rocket pods

    • Missiles:

      • Vympel R-27R/ER/T/ET

      • Vympel R-77 – the proposed R-77M, R-77T

      • Vympel R-73E/M, and R-74M

      • R-37 (missile) 200 km

      • Kh-29T/L

      • Kh-31P/A

      • Kh-59ME

    • Bombs:

      • FAB-250 250-kilogram (550 lb) unguided bombs

      • FAB-500 500-kilogram (1,100 lb) unguided bombs

      • KAB-500L laser-guided bomb

      • KAB-1500 laser-guided bomb

    • Other:

      • buddy refueling pod

Avionics

  • Irbis-E passive phased array radar

  • OLS-35 infra-red search and track system

  • L265 Khibiny-M electronic warfare pod

End notes