Flight tests of the first production Sukhoi Su-35S to be built by JSC KNAAPO at Komsomolsk-na-Amur began on May 5. The initial test flight from KNAAPO’s Dzemgi facility lasted around 90 minutes, and was flown by Sergei Bogdan.
This first production machine, one of 48 ordered by the Russian air force in August 2009, will be used initially for acceptance testing, with first deliveries to the air force due before year-end. All 48 are to be delivered by 2015. Three Su-35 prototypes were built, the first flying in February 2008, although the third was lost the following year.
The Su-35 represents a thorough overhaul of the “Flanker” design, with structural, aerodynamic, powerplant and avionics changes. The structure has been revised to include significantly higher titanium content, with the result that airframe life is extended to 6,000 hours or 30 years, and time-between-overhauls raised to 1,500 hours or 10 years. The aircraft employs a new MNPK Avionika KSU-35 fly-by-wire control system, which is integrated with the 3-D thrust-vectoring 117S (AL41F1A) engines. Designed by NPO Saturn and built by Ufa-based UMPO, the 117S gives the Su-35S an impressive supercruise capability.
Avionics are based around NIIP Tikhomirov’s N035E Irbis-E phased-array radar, which combines electronic and mechanical methods to allow scanning up to 120 degrees in any direction. The cockpit has two 12 x 9-inch multi-function displays.