THE GAME-CHANGING ‘FLANKER’

The Su-35S is the most advanced fighter in operational service in Russia and has been used in combat in Syria, Russia’s shop window on its latest technology.

FOUR Su-35S (NATO reporting name ‘Flanker-E’) fighters were deployed to Syria in late January 2016 when Russia strengthened its contingent’s fighter escort capability after a Su-24 bomber had been shot down by a Turkish F-16 in November 2015. In addition to R-27 and R-73 air-to-air missiles, the Su-35S aircraft have been seen operating with the new R-77-1 medium-range AAM that recently entered service. They were seen sporadically with 250kg (551lb) iron bombs. There are no photographs showing guided air-to-ground weapons, although Russian sources claim that the Su-35S has used them in Syria. The aircraft there typically fly with Khibiny jamming pods.

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