The Sukhoi Su-35 (Russian: Сухой Су-35; NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) is a designation for two separate, heavily upgraded derivatives of the Su-27 ‘Flanker’ jet plane. They are single-seat, twin-engine, supermaneuverable multirole fighters, designed by Sukhoi and built by Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association.
The first variant was designed during the 1980s, when Sukhoi sought to upgrade its high-performance Su-27, and was initially known as the Su-27M. Later re-designated Su-35, this derivative incorporated aerodynamic refinements with increased manoeuvrability, enhanced avionics, longer range, and more powerful engines.
The first Su-35 prototype, converted from a Su-27, made its maiden flight in June 1988. More than a dozen of these were built, some of which were used by the Russian Knights aerobatic demonstration team. The first Su-35 design was later modified into the Su-37, which possessed thrust vectoring engines and was used as a technology demonstrator.
A sole Su-35UB two-seat trainer was built in the late 1990s that strongly resembled the Su-30MK family.
In 2003, Sukhoi embarked on a second modernization of the Su-27 to produce what the company calls a 4 generation fighter that would bridge the gap between legacy fighters and the upcoming fifth-generation Sukhoi PAK FA.
This derivative, while omitting the canards and air brake, incorporates a reinforced airframe, improved avionics and radar, thrust-vectoring engines, and a reduced frontal radar signature.
In 2008 the revamped variant, erroneously named the Su-35BM in the media, began its flight test programme that would involve four prototypes, one of which was lost in 2009.
The Russian Air Force has ordered 48 production units, designated Su-35S, of the newly revamped Su-35. Both Su-35 models are marketed to many countries, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and South Korea; China ordered the Su-35 in late 2015.
Sukhoi originally projected that it would export more than 160 units of the second modernized Su-35 worldwide.
The PAK FA (Russian: ПАК ФА, Russian: Перспективный авиационный комплекс фронтовой авиации, Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks Frontovoy Aviatsii, literally “Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation”) is a fifth-generation fighter programme of the Russian Air Force.
The T-50 is the name of the prototype aircraft (though it is unlikely it will be the name for the production aircraft) designed by Sukhoi for the PAK FA programme.
The aircraft is a stealthy, single-seat, twin-engine jet fighter, and will be the first operational aircraft in Russian service to use stealth technology.
It is a multirole fighter designed for air superiority and attack roles.
The fighter is planned to have supercruise, stealth, supermaneuverability, and advanced avionics to overcome the prior generation of fighter aircraft as well as ground and maritime defences.
The PAK FA is intended to be the successor to the MiG-29 and Su-27 in the Russian Air Force and serve as the basis for the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) being co-developed by Sukhoi and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force.
The T-50 prototype first flew on 29 January 2010 and the first production aircraft is slated for delivery to the Russian Air Force starting in late 2016 or early 2017.
The prototypes and initial production batch will be delivered with a highly upgraded variant of the AL-31F used by the Su-27 family as interim engines while a new clean-sheet design powerplant is currently under development.
The aircraft is expected to have a service life of up to 35 years.
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