Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sukhoi's Su-35 Performs First Flight

The first prototype of the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E multi-role fighter made its first flight on February 19, 2008. Flown by Sukhoi test pilot Sergey Bogdan from Zhukovsky airfield near Moscow, the Super Flanker's flight lasted 50 minutes. Two additional planes are currently being completed at the United Aircraft Corporation's plants in the Russian Far East, and on schedule to join the test flight, in anticipation for delivery of the first aircraft (designated Su-27SM2) to the Russian Air Force by 2010 and achieving initial operational capability a year later.

Export deliveries are planned a short while thereafter. According to the Russian 2007-2015 State Armaments Program, the Russian Air Force is supposed to receive 116 new and 408 upgraded aircraft for forward-deployed units. Furthermore, 156 new and 372 modernized helicopters are required by the military's strategy which is actively supported by President Vladimir Putin.

About the Su-35

The aircraft is an advanced air superiority fighter based on the Flanker (Su-27/30) platform, designed for the air/air and air/ground roles.

Su-35 is considered to be one of the world's most advanced fighters. The first prototype of the Su-35 was completed last year (2007) at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aviation Production Association (KnAAPO) and was displayed in public for the first time during the MAKS 2007 airshow.

The aircraft is equipped with two AL-37F (Saturn 117S) engines, designed as modern derivatives of the AL-31F. The new engine is developing 16% increase in power (14,500 kg maximum thrust) it is fitted with independent (asymmetric) thrust vectored nozzles, a new fan, high and low pressure turbines and improved digital controls. The new engines are also more robust, offering lower maintenance requirements and longer lifespan (up to 4,000 hours between main overhaul). The aircraft uses a triple-redundant 'fly by wire' flight control; compared to its predecessors, Su-35 has an improved, integrated aerodynamic and propulsion control enabling the flight control system to perform acceleration, deceleration, roll, pitch and yaw utilizing thrust vectoring in addition to classic aerodynamic control, alleviating the need for the super-sized air-brake and canards used in previous models. Availability of improved controls enabled the designers to reduce the aircraft radar signature (radar cross section RCS), particularly in head-on engagement pattern. (± 60° off axis). The aircraft is fitted with 12 hardpoints for external loads weighing a total 8,000 kg.

Advanced Avionics:

The cockpit has a 'glass cockpit' design, utilizing two large 15" multi-function color LCD displays, a head-up display and full HOTAS functionality. The main sensor is an X-band E-Slavia radar allowing detection and tracking up to 30 air targets while scanning a wide sector (track while scan). The radar and fire control can simultaneously engage up to eight targets. Production models will be fitted with the Tikhomirov NIIP Irbis radar, capable of detecting and tracking aerial targets with average radar cross-section of three square meters, operating at ranges of up-to 400 km (216nm). Irbis offers a wide area coverage of Irbis 70 to 120° with azimuth resolution of (in 2 -2.5 times), increased range, and better ECCM compared to its predecessors. The development of this radar began in 2004. The system completed ground tests in the lab and is preparing for the initial test flights on a Su-30MK2 testbed.

Su-35 (Su-27BM) Maiden Flight - February 19, 2008

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