Su-35: Celebrating 15 Years of Flanker-E+’s Maiden Flight

Sukhoi Su-35
Sukhoi Su-35

Sukhoi Su-35 (NATO reporting name: Flanker-E+) Gen. 4++ multi-role twin-engine supermaneuverable fighter jet took to the skies for the first time 15 years ago.

Today, Su-35S, along with Su-30SM, makes the backbone of the Russian Air Force, and is also one of the core products of the Russian aviation exports. Su-35 also incorporates some Gen.5 fighter jet technology. According to the manufacturer, it can give the Flanker-E+ an advantage over other multi-role 4th generation fighters.

One of the most seasoned test pilots of the Russian Federation Sergei Bogdan took the Su-35 to the sky on February 19, 2008. Previously, a mockup of Su-35 aircraft was unveiled at the static display of the MAKS 2007 international air show. The air platform is serially produced at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant named after Yury Gagarin (a subsidiary of Rostec’s United Aircraft Corporation).

Su-35 was designed on the base of the renowned Su-27 fighter jet in order to dramatically increase its effectiveness against air, ground and surface targets. The family of export-oriented Sukhoi multirole combat aircraft now comprises Su-30SME, Su-34E, and Su-35 combat air platforms.

The Su-35 is reported to be capable of accomplishing the whole range of air support tasks. A large number of hardpoints enables the use of up to 12 medium-range guided air-to-air missiles or six air-to-surface guided weapons in one sortie. The fighter’s powerpack comprises a pair of AL-41F-1S (also designated as 117S) 4++ generation engines with an afterburner and thrust vector control.

The Su-35 can be operated against ground and surface targets, including those at stand-off ranges. Moreover, the Su-35 is capable of controlling air group operations, actually performing the functions of an AWACS aircraft. According to independent aviation experts, the Su-35’s combat capabilities allows the pilot to effectively use it against 5th generation combat aircraft.

The airborne radar system provides detection of aerial targets at long ranges of up to 350 km. The manufacturer of the radar claims that its export-oriented modification (Irbis-E) provides detection, tracking and definition of coordinates of air, ground and surface targets by day / night, in all weather conditions and operational environments.