Russian Knights equip with Su-35S

The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has delivered four Sukhoi Su-35S 'Flanker-E' fourth-generation fighters to the Russian Aerospace Forces for use by one of the air arm's aerobatic team, the Russian Knights.

The four multi-role fighters were delivered to the team's home base at Kubinka, near Moscow, on November 12. The aircraft were already painted in the red, white and blue display scheme of the Russian Knights  the colours of the national flag. The Su-35s were produced at Sukhoi's Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant (KnAAPO) under contract from the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. 

Yury Slyusar, Director General of the UAC, said: “These wonderful machines built at our factory in Komsomolsk-on-Amur have a special mission. The famous Russian Knights aerobatic team will fly them, demonstrating the outstanding capabilities of Russian technology around the world."

Russian Knight Su-35S [UAC]
The Russian Knights' four new Su-35S Flanker-E display aircraft at Kubinka air base. UAC

The Su-35S is the latest member of the ‘Flanker' family, with the first aircraft being delivered to the Russian Aerospace Forces in 2016. Powered by two Saturn AL-41F1S afterburning turbofans, the aircraft boasts a thrust-vectoring capability with a maximum speed of 1,500mph (2,400km/h, or Mach 2.25 at altitude) and can operate at 9g  an aircraft built for high speeds with extreme manoeuvrability, it should be ideal for air display work. The Russian Knights currently fly eight two-seat Su-30SMs, which will likely be retained and also used for pilot training.

Colonel Andrey Alekseev, commander and lead pilot of the Russian Knights, said: “The Su-35 is very easy to pilot. Even if we take the effort for the pilot, then this plane is the easiest of those that I had to fly... Combat pilots already fly on it. The plane is beautiful. I think that we will master it.”