Su-27 Flanker, Sukhoi

Su-27 Flanker air superiority fighter

The Su-27 is a big long-range air superiority fighter, comparable to the U.S. F-15 but superior in many respects. It is a twin-engined aircraft with a blended wing and fuselage, and twin tail fins. At airshows the Su-27 demonstrated an exceptional controllability at high angles of attack.

The Su-27 (NATO designation Flanker) is the front-line fighter aircraft designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau. The export version is the Su-27SK. The aircraft is equipped to operate autonomously in combat over hostile territory, in escort of deep-penetration strike aircraft and in the suppression of enemy airfields. The aircraft provides general air defense in cooperation with ground and airborne control stations.

A shipboard version of the Su-27, also known as the Su-33, with canards and folding wings, has been tested on Russia's first big carriers, and there also is a two-seat attack version, the Su-27IB or Su-34, with side-by-side seating in a reshaped nose.

Type: Su-27
Country: Russia / Soviet Union
Export: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, China, India
Function: fighter
In Service date: 1982
Year: 1986
Crew: 1
Engines: 2 * 12500 kg Lyulka AL-31F
Wing Span: 14.70 m
Wing area: 62 m2
Wing Aspect Ratio: 3.5
Length: 21.93 m
Height: 5.93 m
Empty Weight: 22500 kg / 17000 kg
Max.Weight: 30000 kg
Internal Fuel Weight: 5,600 kg

G-limits: 9/-3.5
Speed: Mach 2.35
Ceiling: 18000 m
Ferry Range: 4,400 km
Combat Radius: 1,200 km
Maximum instantaneous turn rate: 28 degrees/second
Maximum sustained turn rate: 22.5 degrees/second
TWR(50% fuel, 2 EM A2A missile, 2 IR A2A missile): ~1.23
TWR(100% fuel, 2 EM A2A missile, 2 IR A2A missile): ~1.07:1
Armament: 1*g 30mm msl

Quick Technical Overview

The huge Su27's airframe is constructed from advanced lightweight aluminium lithium alloys, making it light for its size. The wing is designed using an ogival shape and wingroot extension. The wing has a 42 degrees leading edge sweep with full span leading edge slats and trailing edge flaperons. The flaperons combine the functions of conventional flaps and ailerons and move in unison as flaps to provide lift and drag. They move out of unison to function as ailerons.

The engines of the Su-27 are two AL31F turbofan engines designed by A.M. Lyul'la, the MMZ Saturn General Designer. These engines are deemed highly economical and is rated at 12500 kg static thrust in afterburner and at 7600 kg in military power. The AL31F engine has been proven to be reliable, robust, and maintainable. When tested in severely disturbed airflow, and in extreme conditions, the engine performed effectively. That is why manoeuvres like the tail-slide and the Cobra are possible.

When the aircraft is in flight, the pilot has many options at his fingertips. He won't enter into any fatal spins or pull too many G's because of the highly sophisticated quadruplex fly-by-wire remote control system (designated EDSU by Russians) with built-in angle of attack and G limiters. The pilot has a sophisticated weapons control system using a RLPK27 coherent pulse-Doppler jam proof radar with track while scan and look-down shoot-down capabilities. The radar detection range is 240 km, and it can simultaneously track up to 10 targets at 185 km away. The pilot can simultaneously fire missiles at two targets. In case of radar failure, the pilot is backed up by a 36sh electro-optical system designed by Geophysica NPO. The electro-optical system contains a laser range finder (which has a range of 8km) and Infrared Search and Track system (which as a range of 50km). The electro-optical system can be attached to the pilot's helmet mounted target designator to allow the pilot to target by moving his head.


In 1969 Russia decided that they need a new fighter which is capable of outperforming all current U.S. aircraft including the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Falcon. Sukhoi OKB won the contract, and with that they began their task of constructing what was to become the world's best fighter jet. The name designated to the development project was T10. The aircraft produced had to be capable of lookdown/shoot down capability, and be capable of destroying targets at long ranges.

May 20, 1977 the first prototype designated T10-1 took off. After an evaluation it was discovered that the T10-1 did not fulfil its requirements for maximum range, and manoeuvrability, and thus proved inferior to its western counterparts. The prototype had aerodynamics problems, engine problems and fuel consumption problems. The second prototype the T10-2 crashed because of a fly-by-wire software failure which resulted in the death of the test pilot. After such disappointing results the from the T10 program Sukhoi seemed to stop T10 development, because there were no more T10 prototypes tested. They didn't, by 1981 a new design was introduced loosely based on the old T10. The new aircraft was designated T10S which was to become what today is known as the Su27 Flanker. The T10S prototype flew on April 20, 1981. The T10S showed it self to be a masterpiece of engineering having no equal anywhere in the world in range, manoeuvrability, and combat effectiveness.

Performance Specifications

DataPerformance (Metric)Performance (English)Extra Data
Weight16,000 kg32,000 lbsEmpty
RangeMore than 4,000 kmMore than 2,200 nm
Service ceiling18,000 m54,000 ft
Dynamic ceiling24,000 m72,000 ft
Thrust Augmented25,000 kg50,000 lbs
Thrust: Weight1.5625 : 1
Min takeoff weight22,500 kg45,000 lbs
Max takeoff weight30,000 kg60,000 lbs
Payload6,000 kg12,000 lbs
Max fuel9,400 kg18,800 lbs
Climb rate300 m/sec900 ft/sec
Max G-load-3.0 and +9.0
Critical AOA33
Top speed1,470 km/h816.6 nmSea Level
Top speed2,500 km/h1,390 nmHeight
Maximum Rate of Turn22.5/secSustained
Maximum Rate of Turn28.5/secInstant
Wing Span14.7 m44.1 ft
Length (excluding nose probe)21.94 m65.82 ft
Height5.93 m17.79 ft
Wing surface62 m2686 ft2

Specification: Su-27 'Flanker-B'

Designed in the late 1960s as a high performance fighter with a fly-by-wire control system, and with the ability to carry up to 10 AAMs, the highly manoeuvrable Su-27 was one of the most opposing fighters ever built at the time. The first 'Flanker-A' prototypes flew on May 20, 1977 and entered service as the 'Flanker-B' in 1984. The 'Flanker' has seen a number of aerodynamic changes since, and exists in a variety of forms today.

The Su-27IB, or Su-34 designation, is a long range attack variant with side-by-side seating for two. The Su-27UB 'Flanker-C', or Su-30 designation, is a tandem two-seat long range interceptor and trainer. A navalized version called the Su-27K 'Flanker-D', designated Su-33, was designed in 1992 for deployment on Russian aircra ft carriers. It has folded wings, retractable flight refuelling probe, arrester hook, strengthened landing gear, and moving canard foreplanes. Next generation 'Flanker' derivatives include the Su-35 and the thrust-vector controlled Su-37, both vastly more enhanced then the Su-27, with canard foreplanes and the ability to carry up to 11 and 14 external stores, respectively.

Prime contractor: Sukhoi Design Bureau
Nation of origin: Soviet Union
Function: Multi-role fighter
Crew: 1
Year: 1977
In-service year: 1984
Engine: Two Lyulka AL-31F afterburning turbofans, 27,557 lb thrust each
Wing span: 14.7 m / 48 ft 3 in
Length: 21.94 m / 72 ft
Height: 5.93 m / 19 ft 5 in
Weight: 45,801 lb empty / 66,138 lb max. take off
Ceiling: 59,055 ft
Speed: 2,500 km/h / 1,553 mph
Range: 4,000 km / 2,485 miles
Armament: One GSh-30-1 30 mm cannon with 150 rounds, plus 13,228 lb including AAMs, AGMs, bombs, rockets, drop tanks, and ECM pods carried on ten external points

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