Sukhoi Su-35:- The world most powerful 4th Generation aircraft

The Sukhoi Su-35 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.

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.

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.

As an air-superiority fighter, its major advantages are its combination of high altitude capability and blistering speed which allow the fighter to impart the maximum possible amount of launch energy to its arsenal of long-range air-to-air missiles.

The Su-35 would be launching its weapons from high supersonic speeds around Mach 1.5 at altitudes greater than 45,000 ft; the F-35 would primarily be operating in the 30,000-ft range at speeds around Mach 0.9.

The Su-35 builds on the already potent Flanker airframe, which in many respects already exceeded the aerodynamic performance of the Boeing F-15 Eagle. The Su-35 adds a lighter airframe, three-dimensional thrust vectoring, advanced avionics and a powerful jamming capability.
Large powerful engines, the ability to supercruise for a long time and very good avionics make this a tough platform on paper.It’s considered a fourth gen plus-plus, as in it has more inherent capability on the aircraft. It possesses a passive [electronically-scanned array and it] has a big off bore sight capability and a very good jamming suite.

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The Flanker family of aircraft is supermaneuverable—meaning it is engineered to perform controlled maneuvers that are impossible through regular aerodynamic mechanisms. In the Su-35, this is in part achieved through use of thrust-vectoring engines: the nozzles of its Saturn AL-41F1S turbofans can independently point in different directions in flight to assist the aircraft in rolling and yawing. Only one operational Western fighter, the F-22 Raptor, has similar technology.

This also allows the Su-35 to achieve very high angles-of-attack—in other words, the plane can be moving in one direction while its nose is pointed in another. A high angle of attack allows an aircraft to more easily train its weapons on an evading target and execute tight maneuvers.

The addition of the electronic attack (EA) capability complicates matters for Western fighters because the Su-35’s advanced digital radio frequency memory jammers can seriously degrade the performance of friendly radars. It also effectively blinds the onboard radars found onboard American-made air-to-air missiles like the AIM-120 AMRAAM.

Further, the Air Force official added that even modernized versions of older jets would be in serious trouble against the new Flanker variant.

The Su-35 also carries a potent infrared search and track capability that could pose a problem for Western fighters. It also has non-EM [electro-magnetic] sensors to help it detect other aircraft, which could be useful in long-range detection.Another of the Su-35’s major advantages is that it carries an enormous payload of air-to-air missiles.

Engine of Sukhoi Su-35

Use of high-thrust engines is a significant differentiator of Sukhoi Su-35 from predecessor Su-27 family jets. The new engines were developed by NPO Saturn, a UEC subsidiary, and are known under the 117S designation.

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The new engines are essentially a deep upgrade of production AL-31F engines, with fifth-generation technologies used in the upgrade. The upgrade has increased the engine’s thrust by 16% to 14,500 kgf with afterburners and to 8,800 kgf maximum dry thrust. The engine has a significantly improved expected life (by a factor of 2x – 2.7x) compared to the production AL-31F: from 500 to 1,000 hours between repairs (and to 1,500 hours running time before the first overhaul), with the total expected life increasing from 1,500 to 4,000 hours.

The Su-35 radar system can detect targets at distances up to 400 kilometers, as well as tracking up to aerial targets and engage up to eight of these targets simultaneously.

The multirole aircraft features thrust-vectoring, radar-absorbent paint, Irbis-E passive electronically scanned array radar, IRST (Infra-Red Search and Track) and the said ability to detect stealth planes like the F-35 at a distance of over 90 kilometers, the Khibiny radar jamming system along with the ability to use some interesting weapons, including the ultra-long range R-37M air-to-air missile that could target HVAA (High Value Air Assets) such as AWACS and tanker aircraft.

The state-of-the-art system enables Sukhoi Su-35S to detect quickly and track simultaneously up to four ground targets or up to 30 airborne targets, as well as engaging up to eight airborne targets at the same time. Besides, the radar control system has the friend-or-foe identification capability for aerial and maritime objects, is capable of identifying the class and type of airborne targets and take aerial photos of the ground.

 

The system can be used in any weather at any time of the day, and remain effective in the face of interference, either natural or organized by the enemy electronic warfare systems.