In 1969 Russia decided that they need a new fighter which is capable of outperforming all current U.S. aircraft including the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Falcon. Sukhoi OKB won the contract, and with that they began their task of constructing what was to become the world’s best fighter jet. The name designated to the development project was T10. The aircraft produced had to be capable of lookdown/shootdown capability, and be capable of destroying targets at long ranges.

Find out more: Su-35 gallery, Su-34 bomber, J-11, J-15, J-16

May 20, 1977 the first prototype designated T10-1 took off. After an evaluation it was discovered that the T10-1 did not fulfill its requirements for maximum range, and maneuverability, and thus proved inferior to its western counterparts. The prototype had aerodynamics problems, engine problems and fuel consumption problems. The second prototype the T10-2 crashed because of a fly-by-wire software failure which resulted in the death of the test pilot.

 

After such disappointing results the from the T10 program Sukhoi seemed to stop T10 development, because there were no more T10 prototypes tested. They didn't, by 1981 a new design was introduced loosely based on the old T10. The new aircraft was designated T10S which was to become what today is known as the Su27 Flanker. The T10S prototype flew on April 20, 1981. The T10S showed it self to be a masterpiece of engineering having no equal anywhere in the world in range, maneuverability, and combat effectiveness.

The huge Su27's airframe is constructed from advanced lightweight aluminum lithium alloys, making it light for its size. The wing is designed using an ogival shape and wingroot extension. The wing has a 42 degrees leading edge sweep with full span leading edge slats and trailing edge flaperons. The flaperons combine the functions of conventional flaps and ailerons and move in unison as flaps to provide lift and drag. They move out of unison to function as ailerons.

The engines of the Su-27 are two AL31F turbofan engines designed by A.M. Lyul'la, the MMZ Saturn General Designer. These engines are deemed highly economical and is rated at 12500 kg static thrust in afterburner and at 7600 kg in military power. The AL31F engine has been proven to be reliable, robust, and maintainable. When tested in severely disturbed airflow, and in extreme conditions, the engine performed effectively. That is why maneuvers like the tail-slide and the Cobra are possible.

AL-31F Turbofan Engine

AL-31 is a family of turbofan engines developed to power the Su-27/32 multi-role fighter aircraft family. They were developed by the former Soviet Union and currently are manufactured by NPO Saturn. They deliver between 27,000- and 32,000 pounds of thrust and are one of the keys for Su-27 outstanding performance. Besides growing in thrust, AL-31 have incorporated other advancements such as Thrust Vectoring Control (TVC) providing Super Maneuverability to Su-27/32 aircraft.

The NPO Saturn AL-31F model was selected to power the Su-27 and Su-27UB aircraft and is rated at 27,500 pounds of thrust. The same engine was also provided to the Su-33 and Su-30MK aircraft. Some reports suggested that Russia was offering AL-31 to Iran to re-engine its F-14 Tomcat air defense fighters in the late 1990s. It is also known that AL-31FN is an engine option for some Chinese indigenous fighter aircraft programs such as J-10/F-10 and FBC-1. In early February 2009, Rosoboronexport stated that had signed up a new contract for the supply of more than 100 engines to power the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) J-10 jet.

When the aircraft is in flight, the pilot has many options at his fingertips. He won't enter into any fatal spins or pull too many G's because of the highly sophisticated quadruplex fly-by-wire remote control system (designated EDSU by Russians) with built-in angle of attack and G limiters. The pilot has a sophisticated weapons control system using a RLPK27 coherent pulse-Doppler jam proof radar with track while scan and look-down shoot-down capabilities. The radar detection range is 240 km, and it can simultaneously track up to 10 targets at 185 km away. The pilot can simultaneously fire missiles at two targets. In case of radar failure, the pilot is backed up by a 36sh electro-optical system designed by Geophysica NPO. The electro-optical system contains a laser range finder (which has a range of 8km) and Infrared Search and Track system (which as a range of 50km). The electro-optical system can be attached to the pilot's helmet mounted target designator to allow the pilot to target by moving his head.

The Su-27 is a big long-range air superiority fighter, comparable to the U.S. F-15 but superior in many respects. It is a twin-engined aircraft with a blended wing and fuselage, and twin tail fins. At airshows the Su-27 demonstrated an exceptional controllability at high angles of attack. A shipboard version of the Su-27, also known as the Su-33, with canards and folding wings, has been tested on Russia's first big carriers, and there also is a two-seat attack version, the Su-27IB or Su-34, with side-by-side seating in a reshaped nose.

Type: Su-27

The aircraft is equipped with a 30mm GSh-301 gun with 150 rounds of ammunition and a range of missiles, rockets and bombs mounted externally on ten hardpoints.

The aircraft's infrared search and track system, laser rangefinder, radar, and helmet-mounted target designator provide detection, tracking and attack capability.

The range of air-to-air missiles carried by the Su-27K aircraft includes: R-27R1 (NATO designation AA-10A Alamo-A), all-aspect medium-range missile with semi-active radar homing and R-27T1 (AA-10B Alamo-B) with infrared homing and a range from 0.5 to 60km; and R-73E (AA-11 Archer) all-aspect, close-combat air-to-air missile with infrared homing and a range from 0.3 to 20km.

R-27 air-to-air missile

The R-27, also known as AA-10 Alamo by Western intelligence, is a family of medium range air-to-air missiles originally designed to fit the last generation of Soviet Air Force air defense fighter aircraft such as Mig-23, Mig-29 and Su-27 deployed in the 1980s. Their purpose is to engage a variety of airborne targets day/night in all weather conditions in the front and rear hemisphere in heavy clutter environments. It features a modular design architecture to accommodate a variety of seekers and propulsion systems for extended range. The R-27 missile variants are fitted with a proximity and target impact fuze and a 39 kg rod-type warhead. The R-27 missile family has been assigned as the Soviet counterpart to the United States AIM-7 Sparrow but the R-27 enjoys more range and more flexibility. The basic R-27 missile achieved initial operational capability in 1982 with the Soviet Air Force.

The R-27TE, R-27ET1 production standard, is a medium range infrared guided air-to-air missile with dual-thrust solid-fuel engine for extended range of up to 80 kilometers. The infrared seeker allows to engage multiple airborne targets simultaneously with fire and forget capability. The airborne targets for the R-27TE missile are highly maneuverable aircraft, helicopters and reduced radar cross section (RCS) aircraft. The longer range was also aimed at engaging Western Early Airborne Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft such as E-2 Hawkeye and E-3 Sentry. Besides, the infrared seeker provides a stealth air-to-air engagement mode tanks to the lack of emissions. The R-27TE was supplied to the Mig-29 and Su-27 fighter aircraft beginning in the mid-1980s.

Ordnance for air-to-ground missions include: 100, 250 and 500kg freefall and retarded aerial bombs; 500kg incendiary devices; 25 and 500kg RBK cluster bombs; and C-8, C-13 and C-25 unguided aerial missiles.

The Su-27SK is equipped with a new electronic countermeasures suite for individual aircraft, and for mutual and group protection in the forward and rear hemispheres. The countermeasures system includes a pilot illumination radar warning receiver, chaff and infrared decoy dispensers, and an active multi-mode jammer located in the wingtip pods

The Su-27SK is equipped with a Phazotron N001 Zhuk coherent pulse Doppler radar with track-while-scan and look-down/shoot-down capability. The range of the radar against 3-square-metre targets is over 100km in the forward hemisphere and 40km in the rear hemisphere. The radar has the capacity to search, detect and track up to ten targets with automatic threat assessment and proritisation.

The aircraft has an OEPS-27 electro-optic system, which includes an infrared search-and-track (IRST) sensor collimated with a laser rangefinder. The range of the electro-optical system is 40-100km, depending on the aspect angle presented by the target.

The radio communications suite provides: voice and data; VHF/UHF radio communications between aircraft and ground control stations within sight range; voice radio communication with ground control stations and between aircraft up to a range of 1,500km; an encrypted data link for combat information exchange between aircraft; and command guidance from ground control stations using automatic interception mode.

SYSTEMS

The Su-34 is equipped with an electro-optical fire-control system, supplied by the Urals Optical and Mechanical Plant (YOM3), and a Geofizika FLIR (forward-looking infrared) pod. Leninetz of St Petersburg supplies the radar systems and TsNIRTI the electronic countermeasures suite.

ENGINES

The Su-27SK is powered by two AL-31F turbofan engines, designed by the Lyulka Engine Design Bureau (NPO Saturn). Each engine has two air intakes: a primary wedge intake and a louvred auxiliary air intake. The twin-shaft, turbo-fan engine has after-turbine flow mixing, a common afterburner, an all-mode variable area jet exhaust nozzle, an independent start and a main electronic control, and a reserve hydromechanical engine mode control system. The high-temperature sections of the engines are made of titanium alloy.

An Su-27 fitted with AL-41F1 engines being developed by NPO Saturn took its first flight in March 2004. The uprated engine provides a thrust of 145kN (33,000lb).


 

Tail detail and the airbrake of Su-27

Speed-down parachute cabin of Su-27

Main wheel of under carriage

3view of Su-27

Pilon of Su-27

R-73 Air to air missle R-73

KH-31

AL-31F

Two photos of the details of AL-31 engine

Export: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, China, India
Function: fighter
In Service date: 1982
Year: 1986
Crew: 1
Engines: 2 * 12500 kg Lyulka AL-31F
Wing Span: 14.70 m
Wing area: 62 m2
Wing Aspect Ratio: 3.5
Length: 21.93 m
Height: 5.93 m
Empty Weight: 22500 kg / 17000 kg
Max.Weight: 30000 kg
Internal Fuel Weight: 5,600 kg

G-limits: 9/-3.5
Speed: Mach 2.35
Ceiling: 18000 m
Ferry Range: 4,400 km
Combat Radius: 1,200 km
Maximum instantenous turn rate: 28 degrees/second
Maximum sustained turn rate: 22.5 degrees/second
TWR(50% fuel, 2 EM A2A missile, 2 IR A2A missile): ~1.23
TWR(100% fuel, 2 EM A2A missile, 2 IR A2A missile): ~1.07:1
Armament: 1*g 30mm msl

J-20 J-15 J-10 J-10B J-31 J-11 J-11B Su-27 fighter china WZ-10 Xianglong UAV
J-20 J-15 J-10B J-31 J-11 WZ-10 Xianglong UAV

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