Ten years ago, a prototype of Russia’s Sukhoi Su-35 multirole fighter jet performed its debut flight on February 19, 2008.
The Su-35 is Russia’s generation 4++ multirole supersonic super-maneuverable fighter jet developed as a follow-up of Su-27 one-seat planes.
Aircraft’s designing and tests ::
The work on the Su-27’s modification capable of detecting and striking ground targets (i.e. the work on the full-fledged multirole fighter jet) began at the Sukhoi Design Bureau back in the mid-1980s. The plane was named the Su-27M (the T-10M). It was furnished with new radio-electronic equipment (including a rear facing radar), armament, electronic warfare (EW) systems, multifunctional displays in the pilot’s cockpit, an aerial refueling system and other devices.
The first flight of the Su-27M (which was shortly renamed as the Su-35) took place on April 1, 1992. The Su-35 was on display at various international airshows and was offered for export but it did not find prospective buyers. The serial production of new fighter jets did not begin due to economic problems.
Some new technical solutions used in the Su-27M were later incorporated in Su-30 fighter jets of various types and the Su-37 aircraft.
The work on the one-seat multirole fighter jet as a derivative of the Su-27 plane restarted in the mid-2000s. The designers installed new avionics, the Irbis radar with a passive phased antenna array and more powerful engines with thrust vectoring on the aircraft. The fighter jet was also furnished with a new onboard information and control system.
The T-10BM performed its debut flight on February 19, 2008. The fighter jet has been serial-produced at the Gagarin Aviation Plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. In 2009, a contract was signed for the delivery of 48 fighter jets of this type to Russia’s Aerospace Force. The contract was fully discharged in 2015, after which Russia’s military placed an order for 50 more planes.
The fighter jet was accepted for service in Russia’s Aerospace Force in 2017. By today, about 70 such planes have been delivered to operational Aerospace Force units. From 2015, these fighter jets made part of Russia’s air task force in Syria.
Fighter jet’s characteristics ::
By its aerodynamic design, the Su-35 is a two-engine high-wing aircraft featuring retractable tricycle gear with the nose gear strut. The Su-35 is equipped with two AL-41F1S turbojet engines with an afterburner thrust of 14,500 kgf each. The plane has a length of 21.95 meters, a wingspan of 14.75 meter and a height of 5.92 meters.
The fighter jet has a maximum takeoff weight of 34,500 kg, a maximum speed of 2,500 km/h (2.35 Mach), a maximum flying range of 3,600 km without external fuel tanks and 4,500 km with external fuel tanks. The fighter jet has a service ceiling of 18,000 meters. The fighter’s radar can detect targets at a distance of up to 400 km and track 30 air targets at a time. The crew consists of one pilot.
The fighter jet’s service life assigned by its manufacturer is 6,000 hours or 30 years and the term of its engine operation is 4,000 hours.
The fighter jet’s 12 hardpoints can carry air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, and also rockets and air bombs of various calibers. The aircraft has a maximum weapons payload of 8 tonnes. It is armed with a GSh-30-1 30mm gun (with an ammunition load of 150 rounds).
Export deliveries ::
On November 19, 2015, Russia’s state hi-tech corporation Rostec announced that it had signed a contract for the delivery of 24 Su-35 fighters to China. According to media reports, 14 aircraft had been delivered by early 2018.
Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov told the media on February 20, 2017 that the United Arab Emirates had signed a letter of intent with Russia on the purchase of Su-35 planes.
Indonesian media outlets reported in February 2018 that Russia had signed a contract for the delivery of 11 Su-35 fighters to Indonesia.
Air incidents ::
According to open sources, one incident occurred with this type of aircraft without any victims. On April 26, 2009, a prototype of the Su-35 plane skidded off the runway during its speedy run and received considerable damage. The test pilot ejected to safety.