High Thrust-to-Weight Propels Su-35S's Paris Demo
Sergei Bogdan, who is flying the Sukhoi Su-35S demonstration flights in the flying display here this week, has more than 4,900 flight hours on several dozen aircraft types, including 460 hours in the cockpits of Su-35 fighters.
“Some of the combat regimes specified for this type are yet to be fully materialized,” Bogdan told AIN. “The airplane is now at the final stage of customer acceptance trials.” He said that the particular airframe on the Side [number] 07 aircraft present here is “a combat machine, which can be used in anger against certain types of targets. We are working to soon enable this machine to use the whole spectrum of the weapons in the specification to the type.”
Touching on the features of the Su-35S that sets it apart from earlier Sukhoi designs, Bodgan said that most of the maneuvers included in the Le Bourget flight profile have already been demonstrated earlier on other types. But the jet’s higher thrust-to-weight ratio and the more advanced flight-control system enables it to make some further advancement in Sukhoi’s “super maneuverability” domain.
Giving an example of a well known but recently “tuned” maneuver, Bodgan explained the bell (tail slide). “Earlier, when executing this maneuver, the airplane stopped midair and then started to drop while keeping its nose-up/tail-down position. Now, thanks to [the] Su-35’s higher thrust-to-weight ratio, the airplane does not go down but instead flies forward at a slow speed. At that moment the Su-35S pilot can make a sharp turn using vectored thrust.”
Another example of the Su-35S’s unique capabilities is its ability to make the following sequence, which has an application in aerial combat, Bogdan said. After firing a missile at one target, the airplane makes a sharp pitch-up and quickly turns on the top of it to align the nose in the direction of another aerial target and launch a second missile. “These two fine-tuned maneuvers are the highlights of my demo-flight profile at Le Bourget,” Bodgan said.
AIN asked about the short takeoff demonstrated during the opening day’s performance. Bogdan said the takeoff run was about 250 to 300 meters, thanks to Su-35S’s thrust vectoring and high thrust-to-weight ratio. “Short takeoff is another useful feature of the thrust-vectored Sukhoi fighters,” he said. “We demonstrated it before on the Su-30MKI. More power available on the Su-35S allows me to set the plane into high pitch upon liftoff and then make a sharp turn.”
The Su-35S’s Paris Air Show flight profile contains maneuvering at angles-of-attack up to 90 degrees. “There is one regime at which the alpha goes to 100 degrees,” Bogdan said. Due to the relatively small area over Le Bourget for demo flights, the airplane can accelerate only to 800 kph and reach a maximum altitude of 1,400 meters. The g-load peaks at nine, he said. During the high-speed turn in the horizontal plane, Bodgan held 8.7 g.
“What do foreign pilots present at the show ask about the Su-35?” AIN asked.
“So far, I’ve had no questions from them,” Bogdan said. “Perhaps they wanted to see my performance first. As to the pilots of our customers, we only have short personal meetings at this show on some organizational and managerial issues, not much connected to our professional activities.”