Ukrainian forces are said to have shot down a Russian Su-35S fighter plane, the first of its kind, with short-range missiles two weeks ago, amid fierce battle. It was the loss of one of Russia’s most advanced fighter jets for the country. The wreckage of a Su-35S multi-role fighter jet, Ukraine’s first defeat in the war, was uploaded on social media by the Ukrainian military.
Ukraine’s antiquated air defence system is said to have shot down the huge, twin-tailed fighter plane, which is commonly referred to as a fifth-generation fighter but lacks stealth. The Su-35S is a development of the Su-27 Flanker, a dedicated air superiority heavy fighter from the Cold War era.
Experts from the Ukrainian Air Force were able to retrieve crucial and previously unreleased information on this fighter plane from its charred remains, and this information was also passed on to the British intelligence service. The secret technology of Russia’s most advanced fighter plane is currently being investigated by British and American scientists.
The Sukhoi Su-35S’s equipment was taken to the British Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), where two US Air Force personnel spent ten days investigating it. All of the Sukhoi Su-35S’s equipment and data has now been transported to Nevada, USA, for further forensic analysis.
The loss of Russia’s first Sukhoi Su-35S fighter jet has alarmed not just Russia, which presently has 47 Sukhoi Su-35S fighter jets, but also China, which is Russia’s key defence partner. It agreed to buy 24 Sukhoi Su-35S fighter planes from Russia for USD 2 billion in 2015.
To date, the Sukhoi Su-35S is the best of the Russian Air Force’s fifth-generation jet fighters. The Su-35, also known as the Flanker E in NATO classification, is a super manoeuvrable, multi-purpose aircraft that was designed employing fifth-generation technologies.
The two-engine frontline fighter jet has a unique avionics system that includes a digital information control system and a new radar system that can engage up to eight targets at once.
The Sukhoi Su-35S has proven to be a devastating competitor to most Western fighter jets of its generation, including the F-15, F-15s, Eurofighter, and Dassault Rafale, thanks to its unequalled manoeuvrability, state-of-the-art electronics technology, and weapon capability.
The single-pilot aircraft, which are expected to cost around USD 50 million each, are controlled without the use of analogue equipment and have a range of 2,200 miles and can fly at speeds of up to 1,500 mph (2,400 kph) (3,600 km). The aircraft, which has been in service with Russian military since 2014, can carry a wide range of weaponry, including rockets, air-to-air missiles, and air-to-surface missiles.
The Irbis (Snow Leopard) radar can identify an opposing fighter from a distance of up to 249 miles away, and the plane can carry up to 17,637 pounds of fuel and weaponry on external hard-points on the wings and fuselage. The Su-35 has some of the most modern offensive and defensive systems, as well as sensors, in Russian service.
The Sukhoi Su-35S and the Rafale Comparison
To strengthen its Air Force, India has purchased a Rafale jet fighter from France. It’s intriguing to compare the Rafale to the Sukhoi Su-35S in terms of performance. China has also ordered a Russian Sukhoi Su-35S combat plane. As a result, it’s critical to examine both of their capabilities.
The Rafale is a fifth-generation state-of-the-art French jet aircraft that can attain a top speed of Mach 1.8. Weapons are worth 14 points. It contains 190 kilogramme missiles that can achieve a range of more than 100 kilometres.
It is equipped with an air-to-surface missile with a range of 70 kilometres that can be used to destroy bunkers or fortified targets. Rafale weighs 10 tonnes and has a take-off weight of 24.5 tonnes. Rafale is capable of covering 3700 kilometres in a single flight. It is capable of reaching a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet.
Sukhoi Su-35S is a development of the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker. During the Cold War, the Su-27 was developed to compete with the F-15. The Sukhoi Su-35S is powered by two thrust-vectoring engines. Only one western aircraft, the F-22 Raptor, has utilised this engine technology thus far. The Su-35S can attack from a wide range of angles thanks to this powerplant.
In other words, the aircraft can go in one direction while keeping its nose in the opposite direction. The Sukhoi Su-35S aircraft can strike any target with increased ease thanks to its higher angle of attack. The Sukhoi Su-35S fighter aircraft’s ability to dodge missile assault or dogfighting is quite useful.
At higher altitudes, the Sukhoi Su-35S can reach Mach 2.25, which is comparable to the F-22 and faster than the F-35 or F-16. The Sukhoi Su-35S can fly at 60,000 feet, which is the same altitude as the F-15 and F-22 and 10,000 feet higher than the Super Hornet, Rafale, and F-35.
The Sukhoi Su-35S has a range of 2,200 miles on a single charge and 2,800 miles if two external fuel tanks are installed. This aeroplane has a top speed of 2,390 kilometres per hour. The Sukhoi Su-35S weighs around 18,400 kg and has a maximum take-off weight of 34,500 kg.
The Sukhoi Su-35S has 12 hard points for weapon installation, whereas the F-15C and F-22 have eight. It can detect its target from a distance of almost 400 kilometres. Its radar, on the other hand, can track 30 targets at once. The Sukhoi Su-35S’s cutting-edge radar technology allows it to track up to four ground targets or 30 air targets at the same time.
It can also target up to eight air targets at once. The radar of the Sukhoi Su-35S can jam the radar of any western fighter plane. In addition, the radar features an air-to-ground mode that can identify up to four ground objects at once. Along with the radar, it contains an OLS-35 targeting system that includes an infrared search and track (IRST) system. Its range is said to be fifty miles.
The Sukhoi Su-35S is planned to serve as Russia’s primary fighter until Russia begins manufacture of its fifth-generation stealth fighter plane.
The Sukhoi Su-35S is not a stealth fighter, but it has helped Russia reclaim its status as a modern air force superpower.