Sukhoi Su-35 The Ultimate Flanker

The 4th++ generation Sukhoi Su-35 is the most advanced member of the manufacturer’s Su-27 family – but is it the end of the line for the Flanker? Piotr Butowski investigates

With the type’s typical bluish afterburners blazing away, Su-35S RF-81861/rd 17 of the 790th IAP launches out of Dyagilevo Air Base with a pair of underwing B13L1 rockets pods 
All images Piotr Butowski unless stated

The Sukhoi Su-35 (NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) project was handled very differently to other Russian military aeroplanes. Usually, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation (MO) determines what is needed, before presenting detailed requirements to aircraft designers. However, the Su-35 was conceived solely by the Sukhoi Design Bureau (OKB) with one intention – export. Unveiled in model form at the Dubai Air Show in 2013, the type now represents the pinnacle of super manoeuvrable fourth-generation fighter design.

Russian response

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