Sukhoi set to defend itself in the global export market
Sukhoi plans to supply 30-odd combat aircraft this year and sell more than $1.5 billion worth of its products, said Mikhail Pogosyan, the company’s general director. He added that various models of the Su-30 aircraft will be delivered to Malaysia, Algeria and Venezuela. In addition, aircraft component packages will be supplied for ongoing licensed production of Su-30MKI fighters in India.
These figures are a big improvement on 2006. “The company’s performance last year was not representative. We supplied only four aircraft to Venezuela and provided after-sale servicing of aircraft to the tune of over $200 million. The company’s total exports amounted to some $800 million instead of the normal $1.5 billion,” Pogosyan said. At the same time, Sukhoi completed the design for the fifth-generation fighter and manufactured an engineering prototype of the Sukhoi Superjet-100 (SSJ-100) aircraft for static trials.
Sukoi’s main thrust in the market is three-fold. First, it is prime contractor to create a fifth-generation fighter (PAK FA). Second, the company is updating Su-27/Su-30 aircraft. And third is the Su-35 program, which will safeguard Sukhoi’s position in the global market until the fifth-generation fighter is available. This will help to introduce the technologies that are now being refined in work on the fifth-generation fighter.
Experts of Rosoboronexport believe that if flight trials of the fifth-generation fighter start in 2009, its export version would be offered to the world market not before 2015. The U.S. Joint Strike Fighter, its main competitor, will come to the market much earlier. To redress this situation and not lose out in the export market before the work on the PAK FA is finished, Sukhoi plans to offer a Su-35 multirole fighter to its potential customers abroad.
According to Pogosyan, the Su-35 program is now at the stage of completing developmental prototypes for flight trials. “The successful implementation of this program will enable us to offer a product to the market that will outperform all its counterparts built to date and will make it possible for Sukhoi to focus on the advanced fifth-generation fighter,” he said.
The first scheduled appearance of the Su-35 will be on the static display at the Zhukovsky air show (MAKS-2007), with flight tests of the aircraft to start immediately after the show.
By the time the Su-35 comes to the global market, the Venezuelan air force will be operating 24 Su-30MK2 fighters. Also, the air force will receive a logistical support system and be prepared to adopt a more advanced Su-35 fighter of the new 4++ generation.
Retaining the general aerodynamic performance typical for Su-27/30 aircraft, the Su-35 is an essentially new type. It is fitted with a new radar, Irbis, featuring a passive phased antenna array (PAA). Subsequently, it will be replaced by an active PAA. Also, the aircraft will have two more powerful AL-41F-1S (117S type) engines, variable reaction nozzles, new optronic detection station and modern communications and electronic warfare systems.
The aircraft’s maximum takeoff weight is 34.5 tons, normal takeoff weight 25.3 tons and payload eight tons. Its maximum speed is Mach 2.25 at 59,000 feet. Its flight range at high altitude is 1,945 nm, at a low altitude is 855 nm. The flight range can be increased to 2,430 nm by adding two external fuel tanks. With one in-flight refueling the range is up to 3,460 nm.
A special feature of the Su-35 is the abandonment of canard fins to reduce weight. In addition, Russian researchers have made impressive progress in the development of key stealth technologies, some of which have already been verified in test flights, claiming a 10-fold reduction in the radar signature of the Su-35. As a result, its range of detection by hostile radars has been reduced by half.
According to Pogosyan, the Su-35 can be adapted for use of Western-made armament. Also, its control-by-wire system can be updated and it can obtain enhanced reconnaissance capabilities, thus becoming a general-purpose type.
Rosoboronexport regards Venezuela, China, Brazil and some South East Asian countries as potential customers for the Su-35. According to Rosoboronexport, Venezuela will be the first country to acquire the Su-35.