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Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker
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"Russia's answer to the US F-15 Eagle" is one sentence describing the Su-27. With the advent of the Su-27, the Russians not only shortened but surpassed, in specific areas, the distance between western and eastern warplanes.

NATO reporting name: Flanker

Country of origin: USSR (Soviet Union)


Single-seat all-weather air-superiority fighter and single/two-seat ground attack aircraft; two-seat combat trainer.



Development began 1969 under leadership of Pavel Sukhoi; construction of T-10-1 prototype (first of 15 Su-27 'Flanker-As'), under Mikhail Seemonov's supervision, began 1974 and it was flown 20 May 1977 by Vladimir Ilyushin. Prototypes, had curved wingtips, rearward retracting nosewheel, tail fins mounted centrally above engine housings; development was not easy; two pilots lost their lives before major airframe redesign resulted in production configuration; production began 1979, with first flight of production aircraft 1981 and entry into service 1985; current production, for export only, centred in plant at Komsomolsk, Khabarovsk Territory; ground attack role observed in 1991; new versions being developed.


Developed to replace Yak-28P, Su-15 and Tu-28P/128 interceptors in APVO, and to escort Su-24 deep-penetration strike missions; requirement was effective engagement of F-15 and F-16 and other future aircraft and cruise missiles; exceptional range on internal fuel made flight refuelling unnecessary until Su-24s received probes; external fuel tanks still not considered necessary; all-swept integrated mid-wing configuration, with long curved wing leading-edge root extensions, lift-generating fuselage, twin tail fins and widely spaced engines with wedge intakes; rear-hinged doors in intakes hinge up to prevent ingestion of foreign objects during take-off and landing; integrated fire control system with pilot's helmet-mounted target designator; exceptional high-Alpha performance; basic wing leading-edge sweepback 42 degrees; no dihedral or incidence.


Hydraulically retractable tricycle type, made by Hydromash, with single wheel on each unit; mainwheels retract forward into wingroots; steerable nosewheel, with mudguard, also retracts forward; mainwheel tyres 1300 x 350 mm, pressure 12.25-15.7 bars (178-227 lb/sq in); nosewheel tyre 680 x 260 mm, pressure 9.3 bars (135 lb/ sq in); hydraulic brakes with two-signal anti-skid system; brake-chute housed in fuselage tailcone.


Two Saturn/Lyulka AL-31F turbofans, each 122.6 kN (27557 lb st) with afterburning. Large auxiliary air intake louvres in bottom of each three-ramp engine duct near primary wedge intake; two rows of small vertical louvres in each sidewall of wedge, and others in top face; fine-grille screen hinges up from bottom of each duct to shield engine from foreign object ingestion during take-off and landing. Pressure or gravity fuelling.


Pilot only, on K-36MD zero/zero ejection seat, under large rearward opening transparent blister canopy, with low sill.


Track-while-scan coherent pulse Doppler lookdown/shootdown radar (antenna diameter approx 1.0 m; 3 ft 4 in) with reported search range of 130 nm (240 km; 150 miles) and tracking range of 100 nm (185 km; 115 miles); infrared search/track (IRST) sensor in transparent housing forward of windscreen; Sirena-3 360 degrees radar warning receivers, outboard of each bottom air intake lip and at tail. Integrated fire control system enables radar, IRST and laser rangefinder to be slaved to pilot's helmet-mounted target designator and displayed on wide-angle HUD; autopilot able to restore aircraft to right-side-up level flight from any attitude when 'panic button' depressed.


One 30 mm GSh-301 gun in starboard wingroot extension, with 150 rds. Up to 10 air-to-air missiles in air combat role, on tandem pylons under fuselage between engine ducts, beneath each duct, under each centre-wing and outer-wing, and at each wingtip. Typically, two short-burn semi-active radar homing R-27R (NATO AA-10A 'Alamo-A') in tandem under fuselage; two short-burn infrared homing R-27T (AA-10B 'Alamo-B') missiles on centre-wing pylons; and long-burn semi-active radar homing R-27ER (AA-10C 'Alamo-C') or infrared R-27ET (AA-10D 'Alamo-D') beneath each engine duct. The four outer pylons carry either R-73A (AA-11 'Archer') or R-60 (AA-8 'Aphid') close-range infrared missiles. R-33 (AA-9 'Amos') missiles optional in place of AA-10s. Five-round packs of 130 mm rockets, or larger rocket pods, under wings in ground attack role.


Wingspan: 14.70 m (48 ft 2 3/4 in)

Length overall, excl nose probe: 21.935 m (71 ft 11 1/2 in)

Height overall: 5.932 m (19 ft 5 1/2 in)

Fuselage: Max width: 1.50 m (4 ft 11 in)

Tailplane span: 9.90 m (32 ft 6 in)

Distance between fin tips: 4.30 m (14 ft 1 1/4 in)

WEIGHTS AND LOADINGS (B: 'Flanker-B', C: 'Flanker-C'):

Max T-O weight: B: 22,000-30,500 kg (48,500-67,240 lb)

Max wing loading: B: 491.9 kg/m/2 (100.75 lb/sq ft)

Max power loading: B: 124.4 kg/kN (1.22 lb/lb st)


Max level speed:

at height: B, C:

Mach 2.35 (1350 knots; 2500 km/h; 1550 mph)

at S/L: B, C: Mach 1.1 (725 knots; 1345 km/h; 835 mph)

Rate of roll: approx 270 degrees/s

Service ceiling: B, C: 18,000 m (59,055 ft)

Combat radius: B: 810 nm (1500 km; 930 miles)

Range with max fuel:

B: over 2160 nm (4000 km; 2485 miles)

g limit (operational): B, C: +9

LENGTH (m): 21.93

HEIGHT (m): 5.93

WINGSPAN (m): 14.70

MAX T-O WEIGHT (kg): 30,500

MAX WING LOAD (kg/m/2): 491.90

MAX LEVEL SPEED (knots): 725

MAX RANGE (nm): 2160

T-O RUN (m): 500

LANDING RUN (m): 600


(source: Jane's)


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