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Su-35 (Su-27M)

Su-35 (Su-27M) is a single-seat attack fighter that first flew in 1988. The Su-27M (Su-35) never entered service, and should not be confused with the entirely distinct (Bolshaya Modernizatsiya - Big Modernization) which emerged nearly two decades later. The original Su-35 was produced in response to the requirements of the Soviet Air Force, with a preliminary series units being manufactured. Sukhoi assigned the designation Su-35 to the export version of the Su-27M (T-10M) in 1992. This fighter was fitted with canards and the N011 radar. The financial crisis in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union precluded the Russian Air Force from buying this model in significant numbers. Production of the Su-27M had started in Komsomolsk during the last days of the Soviet Union, and a total of 15 aircraft (including the prototypes) were ultimately manufactured.

The Su-35 had long been a brand name in the aviation world. Since 1992, an export version of the Su-27 fighter (created under the order of the Russian Air Force) has been demonstrated at international air shows. At the turn of the millennium, Su-35 fighters participated in the tenders of Korean and Brazilian air forces. By the mid-decade of the new century, a general concept emerged of a considerably modified Su-27 fighter, which retained the name of Su-35.

As Defense Industry Daily noted in November 2015, "articles from 2005-2007 seem to describe 2 different SU-35s. One was a mid-life modernized SU-27 Flanker, but theres also a much more re-engineered SU-35 variant with canards, thrust vectoring, etc. which has been confused with (and possibly redesignated between) the SU-37.... The current SU-35, which has been definitively described by Sukhoi, appears to be something of a compromise between the upgrade and full redesign visions."

The Su-35 and Su-37 were made in Komomolsk-na-Amure. The Su-35 is equipped with 14 guided air-to-air missiles of very long, medium and increased range with active, semi-active and passive radar and infrared seekers. The aircraft can carry out a strike against ground and surface targets with missiles with television and remote command guidance, guided or unguided aerial bombs, cluster bomb units and rockets. There also is a built-in 30-mm aerial cannon at his disposal.

Like the Su-33 it features small wings near the cabin to enhance manoeuvrability. The AL-31F engine in the Su27 was upgraded to the AL-35F. The AL-35F is more fuel efficent giving more time on station or a greater range. It is also lighter and provides more thrust. Combined with the larger amount of composites and redesigned fueselarge, the Su-35 is a lighter aircraft with a higher amount of thrust, and thus an improved thrust to weight ratio. It also has new digital pilot control and digital engine control systems, replacing the analog computers in the original Su-27.

The radar, allows the detection of aerial targets at a range up to 400 kilometers, and ground targets at a distance up to 200 kilometers, the simultaneous tracking of up to 15 aerial targets and attacking not fewer than 6 simultaneously with missiles. The improved "Zuk" ("Scarab") radar features a mobile (+/- 130 degree) antenna which can follow position of 24 targets with ability to fire to 8 of them. The rear "sting" has a radiolocation system, which moved back the center of gravity, and which along with other innovations improve its tactical ability. Armaments includee: R-77, R-73, KS-172, R-27EM/AE, R-27E, R-27, H-31, H-29L/T, KAB-500L/KR, KAB-1500, H-15, H-65, H-59M, S-25LD, 500kg and 250 kg bombs.

Defense Industry Daily (DID) agrees the Su-30 family has stealthy characteristics. There is an unspecified amount of reduced reflectance for the Su-35 in the X-band, which is a popular choice for modern radars. Further improvements were made during testing by adding radar-absorbent materials, and removing or modifying protruding sensors that create radar reflection points.

While the Flankers manuverability is stupendous, its long range also comes into play in aerial combat. This allows it to perform repeated probes and U-turns a Cold War Russian tactic that can leave its opponent disoriented, exhausted and vulnerable in a dogfight. DID points out that the Su-35s NIIP Tikhomirov Irbis-E passive phased-array can reportedly detect and tracks up to 30 air targets, simultaneously engaging up to eight. It can also reportedly detect, choose and track up to four ground targets, and engage two. Detection ranges of over 400 km have been reported for airborne targets.

The Su-35s service life is 6,000 flight hours, with a planned operational life of 30 years.

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Page last modified: 19-03-2019 09:44:10 ZULU