Formerly known as the Su-27M, the Sukhoi Su-35 is an advanced derivative of the Su-27 "Flanker". The first Su-27M prototype was displayed at the 1992 Farnborough Air Show. The Su-35 is expected to enter service in 1995.
Changes from the Su-27 include a new radar, requiring a somewhat larger nose; foreplanes, as on the naval Su-33; more powerful engines (also originally developed for the Su-33); an enlarged and improved infrared search and track unit in front of the cockpit; an infrared missile-warning scanner on the fuselage spine; numerous internal electronic improvements; larger tail fins (required by aerodynamic changes imposed by the enlarged nose); and a large "spine" between the engines containing a rearward-facing air-to-air radar, allowing the use of rear-firing semi-active radar guided missiles. Not present on the prototype, but expected to be on the production version, are two-dimensional thrust-vectoring engine nozzles (as on the F-15SMTD demonstrator and YF-22).
The interesting concept of rearward-firing missiles has apparently been tested on Su-27s, using modified R-73 missiles mounted on rotating pylons that can fire missiles in either direction. The production version apparently has a "nose cone" over the rocket engine (jettisoned on launch), and modified fins to prevent instability problems while briefly flying backwards after launch. The launch rails are fitted with gas cartridges to boost the missile backwards, so its own engine doesn't have to overcome the aircraft's full forward speed. It isn't clear whether the missiles will be mounted on fixed rearward facing rails, or rotating pylons similar to those used during development. How well any of this will work in practice remains to be seen.
Besides being a better fighter, the Su-35 also has greatly improved ground attack capability compared to the original Su-27, which was more specialised for the air-to-air role.
Other Su-27 derivatives include the tandem two-seat Su-30 in interceptor (Su-30, formerly Su-27PU, intended to supplement the more capable but more expensive MiG-31) and fighter-bomber (Su-30M, equivalent to the F-15E, and export Su-30MK) versions; Su-33 (formerly Su-27K) carrier-borne multirole fighter; and Su-34 (formerly Su-27IB/KU) side-by-side two-seat strike aircraft (intended to replace the MiG-27, Su-17, and Su-24 in the interdiction/strike role, probably entering service in 1996). The Su-30MK has been offered for export to India and China. The Su-34 shares the Su-35's tail radar and rear-firing AAMs.
Country of origin: Russia
Type: Multirole Fighter
Wingspan: 14.7 m
Length: 21.96 m
Height: 5.9 m
Range: 3700 km
Take-off weight: 25700 kg
Power plant: two 137.30 kN Lyulka AL-31MF augmented turbofans
Max. speed: 2500 km/h (Mach 2.35)
Weights: Empty 19 200 kg; loaded 35 000 kg
Max external load: 8200 kg
Powerplant: Two Lyul´ka AL-31FU afterburning turbofans, rated at ? kN thrust each
Performance: Maximum speed 2 500 km/h; service ceiling 18 000 m; range 3 700 km.
Armament: One DP GSh-301 30 mm cannon (150 rounds) plus provision for up to 14 underwing stores; air-to-air missiles (AA-10, AA-11, AA-12); air-to-surface missiles (AS-12, AS-13, AS-14); nuclear and conventional bombs
History: First flight April 2nd, 1996; operational from the millenium shift
Used by: Russia