Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
28 December 2012
RUB1.3 billion (USD$22 million)
Also Known As: Flanker-E, Su-27M, Su-35, Su-35BM and Super Flanker
KnAAPO and Sukhoi
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Description: The Su-27, Flanker-B NATO-designation, is a single-seat, twin-engine, long range, air defense fighter designed to counter the F-15 Eagle and NATO fighter aircraft. It can accommodate R-27 and R-73 missiles for short, medium and long range air-to-air engagements. In addition, a built-in GSh-301 30mm gun provides very short range air-to-air engagement capability. The Su-27 air defense fighter can also carry out escort missions in support of Tu-22M, Backfire NATO nickname, as well as other bomber/attack aircraft such as the Su-24, Fencer NATO nickname. Despite its size and weight, the Su-27 and its derivatives are the most maneuverable aircraft ever flew. The Su-27 Flanker features an integrated Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system located in front of the cockpit's canopy. The IRST system together with a helmet-mounted sight, the R-73 advanced short range air-to-air missile, and Su-27's maneuverability outperforms any existing fighter aircraft in a short range air-to-air engagement.
The Su-35, originally known as the Su-27M, is an improved derivative of the successful single-seat Su-27 Flanker designed as a 4+ generation multi-role fighter. Building upon Su-27 advanced aerodynamic design, the new aircraft features super-maneuverability, more powerful NPO Saturn 117S Thrust Vectoring Control (TVC) engines, new avionics, extended service life, and advanced air-to-air and air-to-surface precision strike capabilities. TVC engines provide no angle of attack limitation and enhanced maneuverability which outperforms all known fourth and fifth generation fighter aircraft. Under the Su-27M/Su-35 designation Sukhoi and KnAAPO have built 17 aircraft, 16 single-seat (five Su-27-based prototypes, two static-test airframes, six pre-production and three production aircraft) and one two-seat airframes.
From its inception in the early 1990s, the Su-27M/Su-35 program has suffered the Russian Federation/Russian Air Force turmoil circumstances which delayed its development and changed the program's scope. The program scope was last updated in the mid-2000s with Sukhoi and KnAAPO projecting the first production Su-35 aircraft on active duty by 2009. One of the program's scope is to get a hardened airframe. The final Su-35 may incorporate more titanium alloys thus extending the aircraft's service life to 6,000 flight hours or 30 years. Overhauls are extended to every 1,500 flight hours or 10 years of operation. Another key feature of the Su-35 program is the X-band radar cross section reduction in the front hemisphere covering +/- 60 degrees.
The aerodynamic layout is leveraged from the Su-27 which means no canard foreplanes despite what was seen on the prototypes unveiled in the 1990s. The flight performance will be enhanced thanks to the three-channel KSU-35 fly-by-wire system being developed by MNPK Avionika. The upper air brake has been discarded and its function is taken over by differentially deflected rudders and the landing gear has been strengthened. The internal volumes re-design has allowed a fuel capacity increase by more than 20 percent to 11,500 kg which can attain 14,300 kg adding two 1,800-l external fuel tanks.
The production aircraft will feature X-band Irbis advanced phased array radar system, more powerful 117S engines, the latest Russian-made communication and radio-electronic equipment, glass cockpit with MFI-35 15-inch color multi-functional LCD displays, digital computers, HOTAS (Hands On Throttle and Stick) flight controls, wingtip-mounted ECM pods, drogue-and-hose air refueling system with a fuel transfer ratio of 1,100-liter/minute, OLS-35 Infrared Search and Track (IRST) System, and optional targeting pod as well as new avionics and weapons. Provided with 12 external hard-points the Su-35 would be able to carry an 8,000 kg payload.
The weapon options during air engagements include: one internally-mounted GSh-301 30mm cannon; eight R-27ER1 and four R-27ET1 or R-27EP1 or twelve RVV-AE/R-77 medium range air-to-air missiles (AAMs); up to six R-73E close-range AAMs. In the air-to-surface role the Su-35 may carry: six Kh-29TE or Kh-29L missiles; six Kh-31A anti-ship and/or Kh-31P anti-radiation missiles; five advanced Kh-59MK long-range anti-ship missiles as well as five Kh-58UShE extended-range anti-radiation missiles; three Club-family long-range anti-ship missiles (3M-14AE/3M-54AE1); or a single Yakhont heavy long-range anti-ship missile. The guided bombs include: up to eight TV-guided KAB-500KR/OD; or KAB-500S-E (Russian JDAM counterpart) and/or KAB-500L; up to three KAB-1500KR or KAB-1500L. The aircraft may be equipped with rockets and alternate weapons under development.
The first Su-35 aircraft performed its maiden flight summer 2007 and was displayed at the MAKS 2007 airshow in Moscow. The trials program started on February 20, 2008, and is expected to extend through early 2009. The Su-35 should be ready to enter active service with the Russian Air Force and foreign customers in 2010-2011 timeframe. According to Sukhoi, the Su-35 aircraft is intended for both Russian and export markets. It was reported by the Russian press that Venezuela may convert its existing order for 24 Su-30MK fighters into Su-35s thus becoming the first export customer.
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