Russia’s state-owned Rostec State Corporation revealed on October 24 that a new batch of Su-35S Flanker-E fighters has been handed over to the Russian Ministry of Defence (MOD) ahead of their upcoming transfer to the Russian Aerospace Forces (RuAF).
According to Rostec, the aircraft – which were manufactured by the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) at its Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant (KnAAZ) – underwent a series of ground and flight tests in a variety of operating modes before their were flown from KnAAZ to their operational frontline squadron. It remains unclear as to how many Flanker-Es were delivered as part of this batch and it has not been confirmed as to which operational unit the fighters have joined.
The RuAF is currently employing a number of Su-35S fighters in support of combat operations against the Ukrainian Armed Forces as Russia continues its illegal invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022. The conflict resulted in the first confirmed combat loss of a Russian Su-35S on April 3, 2022. There have been five confirmed Su-35S losses in total during the war in Ukraine, with the most recent two (one on September 29 and another on October 6) both reportedly being lost as a result of friendly fire from Russian ground-based air defences (GBADs) operating within Ukraine – see ‘Russia, Ukraine trade blows in air base strikes’, p8-9.
According to Vladimir Artyakov, the First Deputy General Director of Rostec, there will be more military aircraft deliveries to the RuAF before the end of 2023. “Our aircraft manufacturers have achieved good production rates of combat vehicles and are delivering them to the [RuAF] in a timely manner. This is not the last delivery of aviation complexes this year,” he said.