While development of the T-50 PAK-FA gathers pace, the Su-35 remains Sukhoi’s export priority for the next five to seven years. The aircraft is designed to plug the gap between the existing Su-30 and future fifth-generation fighters. According to Sukhoi, the Su-35 already incorporates some fifth-generation technology, thereby having an edge over other fourth-generation combat platforms.
The Su-35 is powered by NPO-Saturn 117S engines that have had their thrust increased by 16 percent with a new fan, and high- and low-pressure turbines. They also feature Fadec controls and a thrust vector control nozzle. They promise twice the service life of the Sukhoi fighter’s earlier AL-31F engines, and the Su-35 airframe boasts an extended service life of up to 6,000 flight hours, which should give it an operational life spanning 30 years.
Innovation in the Su-35 avionics suite is built around a cockpit management system with a pair of 15-inch color, multifunction displays, a multifunction console with an integrated display processor, a 20- by 30-degree head-up display and a control panel. At the heart of the fighter’s fire control system is the new Irbis-E phased array radar with improved target acquisition range.
The Su-35 has completed its flight trials and during the second half of this year the first series production aircraft is due to leave the Sukhoi factory in Komsomolsk as part of a five-year contract from Russia’s defense ministry. Initial export deliveries are due to begin in 2012.