Sukhoi Su-27

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Su-27
Sukhoi Su-27SKM at MAKS-2005 airshow.jpg
Su-27SKM at MAKS-2005 airshow
RoleAir superiority fighter
National originSoviet Union
Russia
ManufacturerSukhoi
First flight20 May 1977
Introduction1985
StatusIn service
Primary usersRussian Air Force
People's Liberation Army Air Force
Ukrainian Air Force
See operators for others
Produced1982–current
Number built809
Unit cost
US$30 million
VariantsSukhoi Su-30
Sukhoi Su-33
Sukhoi Su-34
Sukhoi Su-35
Sukhoi Su-37
Shenyang J-11
 
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Su-27
Sukhoi Su-27SKM at MAKS-2005 airshow.jpg
Su-27SKM at MAKS-2005 airshow
RoleAir superiority fighter
National originSoviet Union
Russia
ManufacturerSukhoi
First flight20 May 1977
Introduction1985
StatusIn service
Primary usersRussian Air Force
People's Liberation Army Air Force
Ukrainian Air Force
See operators for others
Produced1982–current
Number built809
Unit cost
US$30 million
VariantsSukhoi Su-30
Sukhoi Su-33
Sukhoi Su-34
Sukhoi Su-35
Sukhoi Su-37
Shenyang J-11

The Sukhoi Su-27 (Russian: Сухой Су-27) (NATO reporting name: Flanker) is a twin-engine supermanoeuverable fighter aircraft designed by Sukhoi. It was intended as a direct competitor for the large United States fourth generation fighters, with 3,530-kilometre (1,910 nmi) range, heavy armament, sophisticated avionics and high manoeuvrability. The Su-27 most often flies air superiority missions, but is able to perform almost all combat operations. Complementing the smaller MiG-29, the Su-27's closest US counterpart is the F-15 Eagle. The Su-27 entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1985.

There are several related developments of the Su-27 design. The Su-30 is a two-seat, dual-role fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions. The Su-33 ‘Flanker-D’ is a navy fleet defence interceptor for use on aircraft carriers. Further versions include the side-by-side 2-seat Su-34 ‘Fullback’ strike variant and the Su-35 ‘Flanker-E’ improved air defence fighter.

Development[edit]

Background[edit]

In 1969, the Soviet Union learned of the U.S. Air Force's "F-X" program, which resulted in the F-15 Eagle. The Soviet leadership soon realised that the new American fighter would represent a serious technological advantage over existing Soviet fighters. What was needed was a better-balanced fighter with both good agility and sophisticated systems. In response, the Soviet General Staff issued a requirement for a Perspektivnyy Frontovoy Istrebitel (PFI, literally "Prospective Frontline Fighter", roughly "Advanced Frontline Fighter").[1] Specifications were extremely ambitious, calling for long range, good short-field performance (including the ability to use austere runways), excellent agility, Mach 2+ speed, and heavy armament. The aerodynamic design for the new aircraft was largely carried out by TsAGI in collaboration with the Sukhoi design bureau.[1]

When the specification proved too challenging and costly for a single aircraft in the number needed, the PFI specification was split into two: the LPFI (Lyogkyi PFI, Lightweight PFI) and the TPFI (Tyazholyi PFI, Heavy PFI). The LPFI program resulted in the Mikoyan MiG-29, a relatively short-range tactical fighter, while the TPFI program was assigned to Sukhoi OKB, which eventually produced the Su-27 and its various derivatives.

Design phase[edit]

The Sukhoi design, which was altered progressively to reflect Soviet awareness of the F-15's specifications, emerged as the T-10 (Sukhoi's 10th delta wing design), which first flew on 20 May 1977. The aircraft had a large delta wing, clipped, with two separate podded engines and a twin tail. The ‘tunnel’ between the two engines, as on the F-14 Tomcat, acts both as an additional lifting surface and hides armament from radar.

Su-27 (T-10) in front of a Mil Mi-12

The T-10 was spotted by Western observers and assigned the NATO reporting name 'Flanker-A'. The development of the T-10 was marked by considerable problems, leading to a fatal crash on 7 May 1978. Extensive redesigns followed, and a heavily revised version, the T-10S, made its first flight on 20 April 1981.

Soviet Su-27 in-flight

The production Su-27 (sometimes Su-27S, NATO designation 'Flanker-B') began to enter VVS operational service in 1985, although manufacturing difficulties kept it from appearing in strength until 1990.[2] The Su-27 served with both the V-PVO and Frontal Aviation.

Design[edit]

The Su-27's basic design is aerodynamically similar to the MiG-29, but it is substantially larger. The swept wing blends into the fuselage at the leading edge extensions and is essentially a cropped delta (the delta wing with tips cropped for missile rails or ECM pods). The Su-27 is also an example of a tailed delta wing configuration, retaining conventional horizontal tailplanes, though it is not a true delta.

Sketch of Su-27 performing Pugachev's Cobra manoeuvre

The Su-27 had the Soviet Union’s first operational fly-by-wire control system, developed based on Sukhoi OKB’s experience in the Sukhoi T-4 bomber project. Combined with relatively low wing loading and powerful basic flight controls, it makes for an exceptionally agile aircraft, controllable even at very low speeds and high angles of attack. In airshows the aircraft has demonstrated its manoeuvrability with a Cobra (Pugachev’s Cobra) or dynamic deceleration – briefly sustained level flight at a 120° angle of attack.

The naval version of the 'Flanker', the Su-27K (or Su-33), incorporates canards for additional lift, reducing take-off distances. These canards have also been incorporated in some Su-30s, the Su-35, and the Su-37.

Su-27 carrying R-27 missiles

The Su-27 is armed with a single 30 mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-1 cannon in the starboard wingroot, and has up to 10 hardpoints for missiles and other weapons. Its standard missile armament for air-to-air combat is a mixture of Vympel R-73 (AA-11 Archer), Vympel R-27 (AA-10 'Alamo') weapons, the latter including extended range and IR guided models.

Radar and sensors[edit]

The Su-27 is equipped with a Phazotron N001 Myech coherent pulse-Doppler radar with track-while-scan and look-down / shoot-down capability. The fighter also has an OLS-27 infrared search and track (IRST) system in the nose just forward of the cockpit with an 80–100 km range.[3]

Operational history[edit]

Russia[edit]

The Su-27 has seen limited action since it first entered service.

In the morning of 13 September 1987, a fully armed Soviet Su-27, Red 36, intercepted a Norwegian Lockheed P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft while flying over the Barents Sea. The Soviet fighter jet performed different close passes, colliding with the reconnaissance aircraft on the third pass. The Su-27 disengaged and both aircraft landed safely at their bases.[4]

These aircraft were used by the Russian Air Force during the 1992–1993 war in Abkhazia against Georgian forces. One fighter, piloted by Major pilot Vaclav Alexandrowich Shipko (Вацлав Александрович Шипко) was reported shot down by an S-75M Dvina on 19 March 1993 while intercepting Georgian Su-25's performing Close Air Support.[5][6]

Su-27SM3 RuAF

In the 2008 South Ossetia War, Russia used Su-27s to gain airspace control over Tskhinvali, the capital city of South Ossetia.[7][8]

On 7 February 2013, two Su-27s briefly entered Japanese airspace off Rishiri Island near Hokkaido, flying south over the Sea of Japan before turning back to the north.[9] Four Mitsubishi F-2 fighters were scrambled to visually confirm the Russian planes,[10] warning them by radio to leave their airspace.[11] A photo taken by a JASDF pilot of one of the two Su-27s was released by the Japan Ministry of Defense.[12] Russia denied the incursion, saying the jets were making routine flights near the disputed Kuril Islands.[9]

Russia plans to replace the Su-27 along with the Mikoyan MiG-29 eventually by the Sukhoi PAK FA stealth fifth-generation multi-role twin-engine fighter.

Ukrainian Air Force Su-27UB in July 2011

Ethiopia[edit]

Ethiopian Su-27s reportedly shot down two Eritrean MiG-29s and damaged another one[13][14] in February 1999 and destroyed another two in May 2000.[14][15] The Su-27s were also used in CAP (Combat Air Patrol) missions, suppression of air defense, and providing escort for fighters on bombing and reconnaissance missions.[16][verification needed] In the War in Somalia (2006-present), the EtAF used their Su-27s to deadly effect, bombing Islamist garrisons and patrolling the airspace. The Su-27 has replaced the aging Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 as Ethiopia's main air superiority fighter.

Angola[edit]

The Su-27 entered Angolan service in mid-2000 during the Angolan Civil War. It is reported that one Su-27 in the process of landing, was shot down by SA-14 MANPADs fired by UNITA forces on 19 November 2000.[13][17]

Indonesia[edit]

Four Indonesian Flanker type fighters including Su-27s participated for the first time in the annual Pitch Black exercise in Australia on 27 July 2012. Arriving at Darwin, Australia the Indonesian fighters two Su-27s and two Su-30s were escorted by two Australian No. 77 Squadron F/A-18 Hornets.[18] Exercise Pitch Black is a major multi-national biennial exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force, involving Offensive Counter Air and Offensive Air Support missions being flown at training ranges across the Northern Territory. Exercise Pitch Black 12 conducted from 27 July through 17 August 2012, and participated 2,200 personnel and up to 94 aircraft from Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand and the United States.[19]

Variants[edit]

Soviet-era[edit]

Left side scheme of a Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker B, first production series
Russian fighter Su-27K (later designated Su-33) on the deck of Admiral Kuznetsov

Post-Soviet era[edit]

Operators[edit]

Operators of the Su-27

Around 680 Su-27s were manufactured by the Soviet Union and Russia. This total includes only Su-27s and not later derivative aircraft.

 Angola 
People's Air and Air Defence Force of Angola - 7 Su-27s in service as of January 2013[23] Three were bought from Belarus in 1998.[24]
 People's Republic of China 
People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) - 59 Su-27 fighters, consisting of 33 Su-27SKs and 26 Su-27UBKs as of January 2013[23] The Flankers were produced under three separate contracts by the Russian KnAAPO and IAPO plants. Delivery of the aircraft began in February 1991 and finished by September 2009. The first contract was for 18 Su-27SK and 6 Su-27UBK aircraft. The deal, known as '906 Project' within China, saw the Su-27 exported to a foreign country for the first time. In February 1991, an Su-27 performed a flight demonstration at Beijing's Nanyuan Airport. The official induction to service with the PLAAF occurred shortly thereafter. Chinese Su-27 pilots described its performance as "outstanding" in all aspects and flight envelopes. Differences over the payment method delayed the signing of the second, identical contract. For the first batch, 70% of the payment had been made in barter transactions with light industrial goods and food. Russian Federation argued that future transactions should be made in US dollars. In May 1995, Chinese Central Military Commission Vice Chairman, Liu Huaqing visited Russia and agreed to the term, on a condition that the production line of Su-27 be imported. The contract was signed the same year. Delivery of the final aircraft from the second batch, occurred in July 1996. In preparation for the expanding Su-27 fleet, the PLAAF sought to augment its trainer fleet. On December 3, 1999, a third contract was signed, this time for 28 Su-27UBKs. All 76 of the aircraft featured strengthened airframe and landing gear - result of the PLAAF demands that the fighter has a "usable" air-ground capability. As a result, the aircraft are capable of employing most of the conventional Air-to-Ground ordnance produced by Russia. Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) increased to 33,000 kg (72,750 lb). As is common for Russian export fighters, the active jamming device was downgraded- Su-27's L005 ECM pod was replaced with the L203/L204 pod. Furthermore, there were slight avionics differences between the batches. The first batch had N001E radar, while the later aircraft had N001P radar, capable of engaging two targets at the same time. Additionally, ground radar and navigational systems were upgraded. Of some note is that none of the aircraft are capable of deploying the R-77 "Adder" missile due to a downgraded fire control system.[25]
At the 2009 Farnborough Airshow, Alexander Fomin- Deputy Director of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Co-operation, confirmed the existence of an all-encompasing contract and an on-going licensed production of the Su-27 variant by the Chinese. The aircraft are being produced as the Shenyang J-11.[26]
 Eritrea 
Eritrean Air Force - 9 Su-27s in service as of January 2013.[23] It received about 8 Su-27SK/27UBs in 2003.[27]
 Ethiopia 
Ethiopian Air Force - 12 Su-27s, including 8 Su-27SKs in use as of January 2013[23]
 Indonesia
Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia: Angkatan Udara) - 5 Su-27SK/SKM fighters in service as of January 2013[23]
 Kazakhstan
Military of Kazakhstan - 30 Su-27s as of December 2010[28] It had another 12 on order.[27]
 Russia
Russian Air Force - 355 Su-27 aircraft, including 225 Su-27s, 74 Su-27SMs, 4 Su-27SM3s, and 52 Su-27UBs in service as of January 2013[23] A modernisation program began in 2004.[29][30][31] Half of the fleet has been modernized by 2012.[32] The Russian Air Force received 12 Su-27SM3 aircraft in 2011.[33]
 Ukraine
Ukrainian Air Force - 70 Su-27s[34] It has 50 Su-27s in inventory as of January 2013.[23]
 Uzbekistan
Military of Uzbekistan - 34 Su-27s in use as of January 2013[23]
 Vietnam
Vietnam People's Air Force - 9 Su-27SKs and 3 Su-27UBKs in use as of January 2013[23]
 United States
Two Su-27s were delivered to the United States in 1995.[27][35] Two more were bought from Ukraine in 2009 by a private company to use for warbird exhibition.[36]

Former operators[edit]

 Belarus 
Belarusian Air Force received 23-28 Su-27s from the former Soviet Union.[27] They had 22 in service as of December 2010.[28] Belarus had 17 Su-27P and 4 Su-27UBM1 aircraft remaining when they were retired in December 2012.[24][37]
 Soviet Union
Soviet Air Force and Soviet Anti-Air Defence[citation needed]

Private ownership[edit]

According to the FAA there are 2 privately owned Su-27s in the U.S.[38]

Two Su-27s from the Ukrainian Air Force were demilitarised and sold to Pride Aircraft of Rockford, Illinois, USA. Pride Aircraft modified some of the aircraft to their own desires by remarking all cockpit controls in English and replacing much of the Russian avionics suite with Garmin, Bendix/King, and Collins avionics. The aircraft were both sold to private owners for approximately $5 million each.[39]

The Dutch private training support company ECA Program placed an order with Belarus for 15 unarmed Su-27s (with an option on 18 more) for use in dissimilar air combat training. Deliveries are to be completed by the end of 2012.[40]

See Sukhoi Su-30, Sukhoi Su-33, Sukhoi Su-34, and Sukhoi Su-35 for operators of Su-27 derivatives.

Notable accidents[edit]

Russian Knights paying tribute to Igor Tkachenko, leader of the group who died during practice a week earlier.

Aircraft on display[edit]

Su-27 Red 27 at Central Armed Forces Museum in Moscow

Specifications (Su-27SK)[edit]

SUKHOI Su-27 FLANKER.svg

Data from Gordon and Davison,[59] KNAAPO Su-27SK page,[60] Sukhoi Su-27SK page,[61]

General characteristics

Performance

Armament

Su-27S armament[edit]

Su-27SM armament[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

The Su-27 is in a starring role in the SSI flight simulator game "Su-27 Flanker" and sequel "Lock On: Modern Air Combat".

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References[edit]

References
  1. ^ a b Spick, Mike, ed. "MiG-29 'Fulcrum'". "The Flanker". Great Book of Modern Warplanes. Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-7603-0893-4.
  2. ^ http://www.sukhoi.org/eng/planes/military/su27sk/history/
  3. ^ Sukhoi Su-27SK FLANKER-B
  4. ^ http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_287.shtml
  5. ^ Moscow Defense Brief
  6. ^ http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_282.shtml
  7. ^ Lenta.Ru: Georgian army forces falling back from Tskhinvali (Russian)
  8. ^ Lenta.Ru: Russian airplanes are bombing Georgian army positions (Russian)
  9. ^ a b Russian fighter jets 'breach Japan airspace', BBC News, 7 Feb 2013 
  10. ^ Japan accuses Russian jets of violating airspace, DAWN.COM, 7 Feb 2013, retrieved 9 Feb 2013 
  11. ^ Japan scrambles fighter jets as Russian warplanes intrude into airspace, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), 7 Feb 2013, retrieved 10 Feb 2013 
  12. ^ Japan says 2 Russian fighters entered its airspace, Yahoo! News, 7 Feb 2013, retrieved 9 Feb 2013 
  13. ^ a b "Su-27 operations". Milavia. 
  14. ^ a b Claims with No Names[dead link], Air Aces page.
  15. ^ "Air Aces". 
  16. ^ "ke bahru be chilfa" (Ethiopian Air Force 2007 graduation publication, May 2007), pp. 72–3
  17. ^ "Moscow Defense Brief". 
  18. ^ http://defense-update.com/20120727_pitch_black_fencers.html
  19. ^ http://www.airforce-technology.com/news/newsexercise-pitch-black-2012-concludes
  20. ^ [1] "Su-27P"
  21. ^ Production – Defense – Su-27SKM. KNAAPO
  22. ^ Sukhoi Company has performed the state contract on delivery of new multi-role Su-27SM3 fighters to the Russian air forces - News - Russian Aviation - RUAVIATION.COM
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i "World Military Aircraft Inventory". 2013 Aerospace: Aviation Week and Space Technology, January 2013.
  24. ^ a b "Су-27 сняты с вооружения в Белоруссии". 7 December 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  25. ^ Wei, Bai (May 2012). "A Flanker by any other name". Air Forces Monthly (290): 72–77. 
  26. ^ Rupprecht, Andreas (December 2011). "China's 'Flanker' gains momentum. Shenyang J-11 update.". Combat Aircraft Monthly 12 (12): 40–42. 
  27. ^ a b c d Niels Hillebrand (11 October 2008). "Su-27 Flanker Operators List". MILAVIA. Retrieved 12 October 2008. 
  28. ^ a b "Directory: World Air Forces". Flight International, 14–20 December 2010.
  29. ^ Су-27 предлагают списать
  30. ^ Lenta.ru: Оружие: ВВС России получат восемь новых истребителей Су-27СМ
  31. ^ AirForces Monthly, Dec 2010
  32. ^ http://www.armstrade.org/includes/periodics/news/2012/0313/100511974/detail.shtml
  33. ^ http://www.ruaviation.com/news/2011/12/23/699/
  34. ^ "Су-27 - Український мілітарний портал - Український мілітарний портал". Archived from the original on January 18, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  35. ^ Gordon and Davison 2006, p. 101.
  36. ^ U.S. buys Su-27 fighters from Ukraine for 'aggressor' training. RIA Novosti
  37. ^ "Belarus to modernize its fleet of Sukhoi Su-27 jet fighter". January 31, 2014. 
  38. ^ FAA Registry - Aircraft - Make / Model Inquiry
  39. ^ Pride Aircraft: Sukhoi SU-27 Flankers
  40. ^ Air International October 2010, p.9.
  41. ^ "Salgareda airshow crash 1990". 
  42. ^ 9 September 1990 crash of Su-27. aviation-safety.net, 11 January 2011.
  43. ^ Sidorov, Pavel. "Катастрофа "Русских Витязей" (in Russian)". RU.AVIATION по материалам «ВЕСТHИК ВОЗДУШHОГО ФЛОТА 1-2 1996 года». Retrieved 2007-04-24. 
  44. ^ a b [2][dead link]
  45. ^ "Pilots blamed for air show crash". CNN. 7 August 2002. 
  46. ^ Niels Hillebrand. "MILAVIA Aircraft - Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker Historical Events & Key Dates". Milavia.net. Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
  47. ^ "Europe | Russian jet jangles Baltic nerves". BBC News. 2005-09-20. Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
  48. ^ "Su-27 Flanker fighter crashes in Russia's Far East, 1 pilot dead". RIA Novosti. 29 July 2008. 
  49. ^ a b "Pilot dies as Russia jets collide". BBC News. 17 August 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  50. ^ "Pilot killed as two Su-27 fighters collide southeast of Moscow". RIA Novosti. 16 August 2009. 
  51. ^ "Belarusian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 crash". Centrum Prasowe AIR SHOW – 2009. 30 August 2009. [dead link]
  52. ^ "Belorussian jet crashes at Polish airshow". [dead link]
  53. ^ ASN Aircraft accident 06-APR-2011 Su-27SM Flanker 08 blue
  54. ^ Su-27 Fighter Jet Crashes in Karelia
  55. ^ http://www.ibtimes.com/pla-fighter-jet-crash-two-die-chinese-military-air-drill-video-1164303
  56. ^ http://www.bestrussiantour.com/military/central_museum_armed_forces
  57. ^ http://forum.scramble.nl/viewtopic.php?p=594553
  58. ^ http://www.lennundusmuuseum.ee/index.php?lang=2
  59. ^ Gordon and Davison 2006, pp. 91–92, 95–96.
  60. ^ Sukhoi Su-27SK. KNAAPO.
  61. ^ a b Su-27SK Aircraft performance page. Sukhoi.
  62. ^ http://www.sukhoi.org/eng/planes/military/su27sk/lth/
  63. ^ Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker
  64. ^ http://www.sukhoi.org/eng/planes/military/su27sk/lth/
  65. ^ "Bombas Guiada SMKB". Revista Asas (in Portuguese) 61: 29. June 2011. ISSN 1413-1218. 
Bibliography

External links[edit]