Sukhoi Su-35BM/T-10BM

Since 1977, with the entry into service of the Flanker, that these fantastic aircraft didn´t stop evolving,from one model emerged several others: Su-27 SK, Su-27SKM, Su-30 MK, Su-30MK2, Su -30 MKM, Su-30MKV, Su-30 MKI, Su-33, Su-34/32, Su-35, Su-37…
Unfortunately this long lineage will end, but will end up in great style with a plane of 4++ generation that will fill the gap between the Su-30MK and the PAK-FA, a plane of the 4 h generation which has 5th generation technologies and that can only be overcome by the F-22.
This plane is the Su-35 BM that will become the backbone of the Russian Air Force until the PAK-FA is produced in sufficient numbers and will dominate the market between 2009 and 2015.

The Su-35BM derives, probably, from the Su-27SM (is something uncertain) and applies everything Sukhoi learned over the years with planes like the Su-30 in its various variants.
Among the things Sukhoi learned is the fact that a large RCS and the use of heavy materials in the airframe do not contribute to the performance of the aircraft, as such, Sukhoi substantially improved the basic structure of the plane.
In the new structure were used composite materials, which reduced the weight by 20%. The lines of the plane have been refined in order to reduce the radar energy reflected in the X band, the intakes of the engines are larger to allow a better flow of air, flaperons are large, it does not have canards * and the tail sting is smaller, moreover, it does not have the dorsal aerodynamic brake, its functions are now performed by active rudder . The fuselage has better aerodynamics and lifting ability in general.

As mentioned earlier, Sukhoi learned that a large RCS does not help the plane, as such, to the refinement of the lines, Sukhoi allied other Stealth measures:
_ Use of RAM layers throughout the structure.
_ Treatment of the air inlets with a RAM layer with a thickness between 0.7 and 1.4 mm.
_ Treatment of the face of the engine with RAM material
_Treatment of the canopy with electro conductive materials that prevent reflection of radar waves.
These measures mean a RCS between 0.7 and 1 m2.
In terms of the thermal signature Sukhoi should have used ceramic materials in parts that reach higher temperatures, such as in the exhaust of the engine.

The cockpit of the Su-35BM is one of the most advanced in the world.
The cockpit has two large LCD with 22.5 by 30 cm and a resolution of 1400 by 1050 pixels, as well as a multi-functions backup LCD .
The LCD functions are to receive, process, and transmit data in various ways, whether these are graphics, numbers, TV images, etc.. They also produce and send video signals in digital format to the video recording unit.
The HUD has a control panel and a viewing angle of 30 ° by 20º, and its the IKSh-1M.
The control column of the engine and the control stick have HOTAS capability.
The helmet has a built in sight (HMS) and a small display.
The plane has satellite navigation systems and radio systems, digital map system, optical and electronic system for reconnaissance missions in a pod and digital communication systems.
The plane has 2 UHF radios and two VHF radios, voice and radio coding systems and Link-16 system to exchange data.
All these elements as well as data from radar, IRST and pods are controlled by 2 modern computers that enable the processing and transmission of data to the pilot at crucial moments, easing its workload.
The plane has sensory fusion.

Radar System
One of the radar systems that the Su-35BM can use is the Phazotron NIIR NO31 Zhuk-MSFE, however, the main choice is the Tikhomirov NIIP NO35E Irbis.
The Irbis is a multi functional radar that operates in the X wave band, and its a PESA (Passive Electronic Scanning Array) radar.
Due to the hydraulic systems in which the radar is mounted, it may deflect up to 120 ° horizontally in relation to the central axis of the plane, and up to 60 º upright in relation to the central axis of the plane, value that can be increased up to 120º using the electronic control and mechanical additional turn of the antenna.
The Irbis has the phenomenal power of 20Kw, giving the plane the ability to detect air targets with a RCS of 3m2 up to 400Km and 0.01m2 up to 90 km.
Ground targets are detected at a distance around 200 km.
The Irbis monitors and pursues up to 30 air targets at the same time and enables the shooting of up to 8 active air-to-air missiles simultaneously and up to 2 air-to-air semi-active missiles simultaneously **.
The Irbis monitors and pursues up to 4 ground targets and attacks 2 simultaneously , being able to map targets through pulse Doppler and SAR modes.
The Irbis does all this without ever leaving to monitor the airspace, this means, it is able to monitor and track air and ground targets previously identified while looking for new targets at the same time. The system EKVS-E BTsVM SOLO 35 is responsible for the fire control.
The Su-35 BM also has a radar in the tail, and for this function there are available the Phazotron NO12 and NO15 and Leninets VOO5 used in the Su-34.

The Su-35 has a system for detecting targets passively through their thermal signature, the OLS-35.
The OLS-35 detects aerial targets by their thermal signature at distances of up to 50km head-on and 90km in the rear quadrant ***.
The system also measures the distance to air targets up to 20km and ground targets up to 30km , it can monitor and follow up to 4 different air targets and can designate targets for laser guided missiles.

Electronic Warfare
The Su-35 BM uses the KNIRTI L175M Khibiny-M for this function.
This system is similar to the one in the F-18 G and operates on 3 modes:
_ Individual protection
_ Escort protection
_ Attack group protection
It is able to identify, coordinate and jam enemy threats, in addition it designates targets for anti-radiation missiles such as the Kh-31P.
The system has an individual display in the cockpit and works together with the radar, sending energy to the threats and to the disposable counter-measures , increasing the chance to evade enemy missiles.
It also has a MAWS to detect missiles at approach, a RWR , disposable counter-measures such as chaff, flares and in the future towed counter-measures such as the ones in the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The engines of the Su-35 BM will be the AL-41F with capacity of super-cruise and about 15.000 kg of thrust, however, will only be available in future versions.
Currently the Su-35 is equipped with the AL-41A, also called 117S, which are an AL-31 with new turbines of high and low pressure, new digital control system , new fans, and TVC.
These engines have 14.500kg of thrust, are more efficient, have an APU, and fire extinguishing system and a lifespan that can reach 6000 hours.

As a multifunction fighter the Su-35BM has a wide range of weapons that allow it to perform multiple tasks, even in severely defended environments either by weapons or jamming devices ****:
_ Internal cannon GSH-30 of 30mm.
_R-77 ADDER in its various variants, with range up to 160km and the ability to maneuver at 12G.
_KS-172 for destruction of airborne strategic enemy (AWACS, refueling planes, etc.). With a range up to 400km and the ability to maneuver up to 12G *****.
_R-37, which is a missile that competes with the KS-172 but which should be used only with AWACS, etc.. It has a range up to 300km and can handle up to 9G.
_R-27 Alamo in its various variants with a range up to 120km and the ability to handle up to 8G.
_R-73 and R-74 for close combat with up to 30km range and ability to maneuver up to 12G ******.
_Kh-59 with range of 115km.
_Kh-31 in its variants with a range up to 200km.
_Kh-35 with a range up to 250km.
_Kh-41 with a range up to 300km.
_Kh-15 with a range up to 150km
_Several types of guided and non-guided bombs.

Performance and specifications:
Length - 21.9m

Takeoff weight:
_ Max - 34.500Kg
_ With 2 RVV-AE + 2 R-73E - 25.300Kg

_ Number - 2
_ Unit power - 14.500Kg

_ Internal fuel-11.500Kg
_ Weapons-8.000Kg

_ Sea level-1.580km
_ In-altitude 3.600km
_ With two external tanks PTB-2000-4.500km

Max Ceiling:
_ 18.000m

Thrust to weight ratio:
_ Maximum Load-0.84:1
_ Normal Load-1.14:1

_ 600Km / h to 1100Km/h- 13.8 seconds
_1000Km / h to 1300Km/h- 8 seconds

Climb speed at 1000m:
_ Greater or equal to 280 m / s

_ Maximum - Mach 2.25
_ Super-cruise with the AL-41F- ? Mach 1.6?
_ Sea Level - 1400Km / h

G load:

Takeoff / landing distance:
_ 400-450 m
_ 650m

*- It depends on the customer.
**- New on the market.
***- Without use of afterburner.
****- The Irbis is resistant to electronic warfare.
*****- Fighters maneuver at a maximum of 9G, therefore, the KS-172 is fast enough to be used against fighters.
******- This missile is widely considered superior to the Sidewinder in its traditional version and R-74M2 should be equal or even superior to the Iris-T missiles and Sidewinder X.

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Copyright of the videos and images:
-Air Power Australia
-Alexey Mikheyev
-Revista Take-off, Edição de Junho de 2007

Special thanks to:
-Carlos Emilio
-Nadia Ribeiro
-Zarko Bulatovic

Copyright of this article:
-Filipe Chaves

Interview with Alexander V. Pulenko, test pilot of Sukhoi

Alexander V. Pulenko is a test pilot of the Russian KnAAPO (Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production). He is an Colonel of the Russian Air Force and was one of the first pilots to fly the Su-27P during the 80´s. Served as a pilot of the Russian Air Defence Force and graduated as a test pilot at Zhukovsky in 1995.
In this interview Alexander Pulenko talks about his professional experience as a test pilot of the Su-27 family.

How is it like to be a test pilot and what exactly does this pilot?

- In my case, I was in command of an unit of fighters when Anatoly Petrov, then director of KnAAPO, made a proposal to me to go work there as a test pilot. I accepted and from there, I can say that my professional career began again.
I attended the test pilots school of Zhukovsky, the only of its kind in Russia. Many surprises where waiting for me there, the first of them concerned the type of training. At the school I received a totally different training from the one I´ve got in the Air Force. Much emphasis was given to theoretical knowledge - aerodynamics, dynamics of flight, flight safety and knowledge of structures. The technique of piloting was brought to perfection, so that you´re able to understand even the minor changes in the behaviour of the aircraft and, in case of problems, react quickly thus avoiding dangers during a flight test.
From the first day of activity pilots usually think that there isn´t significant details in aviation. This is a mistake, especially for a test pilot. The routine of our work with a new aircraft is exactly the opposite of this, that is, we must understand all the details, even those that seem insignificant. Therefore, it is important to discuss with more experienced pilots, who have already made numerous flights on different aircraft. This way we increase our knowledge and learn that a test pilot life isn´t so easy. I believe that a test pilot is a person who has reached perfection in flying.

Which was the first plane you flew?

- After finishing my training in 1995, I returned to KnAAPO. At that time, the first Su-27´s, dedicated to export, were being delivered to our first customers. Because I had already flown in this type of aircraft while in the Air Force, I went to fly this variant. This aircraft is extremely agile and has exceptional power.
The export version is known as SU-27SK (Serial and Commerce) and differs from the Russian version basically by the equipment on board. The main job of this aircraft is air supremacy, as well as patrol and interception. They have long range and the armament includes air-to-air missiles and long and medium range air-to-ground missiles as well.
By the way, this was the plane that had greater commercial success, in comparison with other Russian aircraft during the 90´s.

What was the most interesting plane to you?

- The Su-33, an aircraft transported in carriers, which now operates in the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetzov. Because of peculiarities like a high Thrust/Weight ratio and also for its aerodynamics I consider that it is an interesting aircraft. I also believe the Su-35* is a a milestone in my career. This aircraft brought new concepts in terms of systems and ergonomics in the cockpit. I had the opportunity to evaluate his fly-by-wire in addition to all the various electronic systems on board which, essentially, make the Su-35 a very automated plane, making it easier to fly. The Su-35, with its advanced aerodynamics and canard configuration allows us to do manoeuvres that give as an edge in air combat.
Another interesting point of this aircraft, and that was clearly shown during a ten hours flight without intermediate stops between the factory and Moscow, relates to the pilot's seat. It is designed so that the body is left with an inclination where efforts suffered by the body of the pilot, during flight, are properly distributed and thus minimize the fatigue**.
Some experts say the Su-35, and his two seats version, the Su-35UB, is a fourth-generation aircraft, due to its performance. These fighters have employment of multiple weapons systems that allow not only the air combat but also attacks on ground targets. The Su-35 has a fantastic handling.

You have a special consideration for any of them?

Yes, I have a special consideration by the Su-35UB. I call him the "Swalow" because it is very easy to fly and he provides much pleasure while doing so. This aircraft has an excellent response in the three axes of flight and is a very "smart" plane when it comes to control. You do not need large deflections in the stick to obtain the desired answers. I also give much attention to the performance of the combat systems. In this aircraft,the systems are fully automatic,they are able to detect targets at long range, determine the priority threats and define the best missiles to be launched. Basically, the pilot only has to press a button.
Besides all these characteristics, the Su-35UB has a satellite navigation system that provides information about the arrival time of the plane to a target, exactly according the schedule, a feature which is very important in the operational theatres of today.
I also participated in another project, the Su-30MK,developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and KnAAPO. A series of innovations tested in the Su-35 where incorporated into the SU-30MK.

What is your opinion on the Western aircraft?

-We pilots are always interested in other aircraft. Last year I had the opportunity to visit Le Bourget and I was really impressed by the large number of aircraft that were there. Of the various aircraft I saw, the F-18 was the one who stood in my memory the most. I believe it is similar to the Su-35, but is not able to overcome it.I evaluated some cockpits as well. The one who called my attention the most was the Rafale cockpit, because it seemed to me a complete black hole. In our cockpit we have different colours for all instruments to make the learning process easier. In the Rafale, however, all instruments are monochromatic, from my point of view, this makes the learning process a lot harder. Not that a pilot is unable to properly operate the instruments, but certainly there will be discomfort. Also, the Rafale cockpit is very narrow, as compared to the Su-35;it seemed impossible to install myself there. In a way, I think we're way ahead in ergonomics.

What are the peculiarities that a test pilot finds during tests?

-We must follow a certain routine during test flights. Each new plane is like a baby that needs to learn everything, we have to check the functioning of all systems to ensure everything is working just fine. Sometimes we need to discuss solutions to problems that appear.
Every first flight of an airplane, even if it is an aircraft in production,might have its surprises -from a problem with a turbine to a decompression at 11 km, like the one that happened to me. One point I want to emphasize is that we never had problems with the fly-by-wire of our aircraft.

How should the relationship between a pilot and his aircraft be?

- There is an invisible connection between the pilot and his plane, making the two a single element. Although an aircraft cannot be treated as an "old friend", sometimes it doesn´t forgive you if you don´t do so. The pilot must respect it, regardless of his flight experience.

Interview taken from: "Tecnologia & Defesa - Ano 19 Nº 90 - Special Edition about FAB"

Photo taken from: Defesanet

*- The pilot refers to the former Su-35/T-10M.
**- As I said in the article about the Su-35 that can be found here in the blog, the seat, the Zvezda K-36, was reclined 30º.

Pavel be proud of your legacy!!!!

In the cockpit of a Russian Knight´s Su-27

Fantastic video showing the Russian Knights practising for the Victory Day military parade.

Copyright do vídeo: Russia Today

Pavel be proud of your legacy!!!!

Su-34: new aircraft for Air Force's new concept

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik) - Russia's rearmament program, approved in 2006 for a period until 2015, provides for supplying modern weapons to its armed forces. One of them is the Su-34 Fullback fighter-bomber, which will replace the Su-24 Fencers.

The process has begun, but some say the replacement is taking too long.

The new fighter-bomber is said to be very good. An improvement on the Su-27 Flanker, it has cutting-edge equipment, including a modern crew and equipment protection system. The Su-34 is effective against personnel and military hardware on the battlefield and also against targets behind enemy lines, and can also be used for surveillance and against naval targets.

The Su-34 will replace the Su-24M aircraft (about 400 planes), the Su-24MR surveillance aircraft (over 100 planes), and the MiG-25RB aircraft (about 70). Russia will have to produce between 550 and 600 Su-34s to replace these obsolete aircraft within 10-15 years.

However, the Defense Ministry plans to buy only about 58 such planes by 2015 and a total of 300 by 2022.

Many experts say that if the Su-24 and MiG-25RB aircraft are scrapped by 2020, Russia will be left without fighter-bombers and surveillance aircraft.

Others argue that this number will be enough for the Air Force's new concept.

The concept is focused not so much on the combat characteristics of the Su-34, as on its long range, the ability to refuel in the air (including by other Su-34 aircraft with additional fuel tanks under their wings), and its comfortable cabin* allowing the crew to make long-distance flights without becoming overtired.

The Su-34 aircraft can also fly without electronic warfare support planes, because it has electronic interference equipment.

Units armed with such aircraft can be used in the so-called pendulum operations, when an Air Force unit bombs a terrorist base in Central Asia today, delivers a strike at a missile base in Europe the next day, and three days later flies to the Indian Ocean to support a combined group of the Northern, Pacific and Black Sea fleets, with the flights made from a base in Russia.

The Su-34 aircraft has long-range precision weapons, can fly hugging the earth, and have a high level of protection, which should cut losses during lightning operations, while the use of a relatively small number of such aircraft allows training crews to perfection.

This is not a new concept. Elite units of top-class aircraft manned by superbly trained crews formed the core of the German air force during World War II, and Japan's Imperial Navy had a similar concept.

However, such elite units can be quickly weeded out by swarms of ordinary aircraft in a global war of attrition, such as World War II. From this viewpoint, Russia's new concept looks vulnerable, but then this country has the nuclear triad for a global war.

In a war of attrition, it will not matter how many such smart aircraft Russia will have - 200, 600 or 1,500. What will matter is the yield of a nuclear bomb they will be able to drop on the enemy.

But in the event of a small war involving one or two adversaries, or a chain of local conflicts, the existence of such high-speed, highly protected and well-armed aircraft can be the decisive factor. Even 58 Su-34 fighter-bombers, used at the right time in the right place, would be a powerful force. A group of 200-300 such aircraft, divided into several units for use in key areas of the battlefield, will be able to fulfill the most complicated tasks.

Apart from the Su-34, the Russian Air Force will also receive other new planes, whose technical characteristics will maintain the force's combat potential at the requisite level. New units, set up for the fulfillment of specific tasks, will consist of fighters, bombers, early warning and command planes, flying tankers, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

These will be highly mobile units, which means that its aircraft can be quickly dispatched to the area in question. In fact, Russia's new concept is not unlike the United States' Aerospace Expeditionary Force (AEF), a flexible and powerful instrument of air warfare capable of quickly delivering strikes in any part of the world.

As for surveillance aircraft, industrialized countries intend to replace them with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The world is changing, and the new world will wage new kind of wars.

*-The cockpit is pressurized, has a small kitchen, a toilet and a small rest area.

Photo taken from: Air Power Australia

Pavel be proud of your legacy!!!!

China copies obsolete Russian fighter

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik) - Earlier this year reports appeared in the media that China had copied Russia's Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker fighter, and that its J-11 version, now manufactured in China, would be sold to third countries, undermining Russia's positions on the global arms market.

Although China has made some progress in adapting Russian designs and technology, it is still far from posing either a military or commercial threat to Russian aviation.

The Chinese aircraft industry evolved in the late 1950s with Soviet assistance, and soon mastered production of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 Fagot and MiG-17 Fresco fighters, the Ilyushin Il-28 medium-range bomber and other warplanes. Later China got more modern aircraft from the U.S.S.R. - Tu-16, MiG-21, An-12 and others.

By cooperating closely with the Soviet Union, China managed to create a modern air force by the mid-1960s. However, this progress was squandered, and the national aircraft industry began to stagnate, after the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s.

Throughout the 1960s and the 1970s, China failed to develop any new aircraft, instead manufacturing the Q-5 and J-8 - revamped versions of the MiG-19 Farmer and MiG-21 Fishbed fighters.

Meanwhile, both the Soviet Union and the United States were developing fourth-generation fighters by that time. By the mid-1980s, the Chinese Air Force was lagging behind Russia and the United States by some 15-20 years.

Beijing mostly sold its obsolete warplanes to the poorest Third World countries, including Albania, Uganda and Bangladesh. China also exported its aircraft to Pakistan, a potential ally against India.

Chinese leaders eventually resolved to rectify the situation by purchasing up-to-date aircraft production technologies. In 1988, China bought production forms and records for Israel's Lavi multi-role fighter. Sixteen years later, in 2004, China mastered production of the Chengdu J-10 - an essentially Israeli warplane featuring Russian avionics.

Moscow and Beijing mended relations in the late 1980s, leading in 1989 to the signing of several military-technical cooperation agreements that facilitated technology transfers.

Most importantly, Beijing received production forms, records and assembly kits for the Su-27, as well as several Su-30-MKK fighters from Russia. By mastering these advanced warplanes, China obtained superiority over its neighbors and gained an insight into the latest aviation technologies.

Nevertheless, Chinese engineers have so far failed to master production of the Su-27's AL-31F power-plant. Its Chinese copy, the WS-10A, is less fuel-efficient and has a shorter service life. On the other hand, the J-11B, an upgraded J-11 version, has a pilot-friendly cockpit with color LCD screens.

A new Su-27 radar reportedly developed by China has better specifications than the Soviet-made N-001 radar, but is inferior to Russia's more modern Irbis radar.

To sum up, China has managed to copy an aircraft developed in the early 1980s 15 years after the initial Su-27 deliveries, and 10 years after the first Chinese-assembled Su-27 performed its maiden flight.

But the prototype Su-27 and the J-11 are no match for the revamped Su-27SM fighters now being adopted by the Russian Air Force and the new Su-35BM, which has entered its testing stage.

Although the J-11 will carve out its own market niche, this does not mean that Russian-made aircraft will lose their popularity. Nor will China pose a greater military threat to Russia. It is evident that neither Moscow nor Beijing wants an open military conflict. Even if such a hypothetic conflict ever flared up, it would be decided by weapons other than advanced fighters.

Photo taken from:

Pavel be proud of your legacy!!!!