Russia's Fourth-Gen Fighter Could Be The Best Thing On The Market

Discussion in 'Military Aviation' started by p2prada, May 3, 2013.

  1. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Of the jets in production that promise to take military fighters deep into the 21st century and beyond, the U.S. F-35, the Chinese J-20, and the Russian Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA are at the top of the heap.

    Unfortunately, there are problems with all three fifth-generation planes and the F-35 in particular is having global buyers back away much faster than it would like.

    Russia is looking to fill this gap with a known and dependable jet, the Su-35, to which it added cutting edge avionics and amenities for the 21st century.
    Dewline reports that a pilot who took the Su-35 for a spin was blown away by the jet's abilities and its low fuel consumption even at speeds faster than the speed of sound.

    It's not a fifth-generation plane like the F-35, with all the attendant problems. It is a 4++ generation plane with all the tried and true basics overlaid with cutting edge avionics and navigation equipment.

    It's hard to tell which is the better jet, but one of them has no problem flying and that's an issue the F-35 can't seem to shake.


    Read more: Sukhoi Su-35 Competes With The F-35 - Business Insider
     
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  3. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Flying the Flanker - The DEW Line

    A few years ago, Tactical Air Support was, for a brief period, an operator of a pair of privately-owed Soviet-built Sukhoi Su-27 Flankers. The company's senior vice president and chief operating officer Gerry Gallop, who previously served as a US Navy instructor pilot at TOPGUN and who has flown the F-4 Phantom II, F-14A and B, F-15, F-16, the F/A-18 series and the A-4, a recalls some of his initial transition flights in the Flanker.

    One sortie that stands out in Gallops' mind was a combination functional check flight and navigational training sortie over the Ukraine. "I had no idea I was going to be supersonic for 25 minutes," he says.

    "We climbed up to 20,000ft at 0.9 Mach and did some checks on the engines and then the next thing we were going to do was climb to 35,000ft and be at 1.35 Mach for the Mach lever checks, very similar the [Pratt & Whitney] TF30 [on the F-14A Tomcat]--you're going to bring the throttle back to idle when you're supersonic and it's going to make sure the RPM stays high up enough to prevent an engine stall," Gallop says. "We finish up at 20,000ft and I'm expecting to climb at 0.9 to 35,000 and accelerate to 1.35 Mach... Oh no... We just plug in the blowers, pull the nose up, accelerate to 1.35 in the climb, level at 35,000ft, check the engines, blowers back in, accelerate to 1.55, climbed it up to 47,000ft, and then we just brought it back to min burner."

    "We brought it back to min burner, but I'm cruising at 1.3 Mach," Gallop says. The two-seat Flanker was clean, Gallop says, and it was demilitarized--which means it weighed about 3000lbs less than the typical stock Su-27, but nonetheless, the jet was impressively fast especially at high altitude.

    Slowing the Flanker down after almost 25 minutes of supersonic flight also showed interesting results. "I take it out of burner and I'm just at mil power and the speed dropped down to--I was still supersonic," he says. "By the time we got done, 25 minutes supersonic, I looked at the gas and go 'you know I could turn around fly back the way I came supersonic and still have a normal amount of gas left to land'," Gallop says. "I had more fuel when I was done that profile than a single centerline Hornet had on the ramp."

    The Flanker holds 9,400Kg (20,700lbs) of fuel, which is similar to an F-14 with two external tanks, Gallop says. "I'm up there clipping off 13 nautical miles a minute and I'm burning 110kg per minute," he continues. "I took off with 9,400 and I'm burning 110kg per minute at Mach 1.3, so you look at that and go 'I can be supersonic a long time and you look at how many miles you can fly at that speed.'"

    Part of the reason the Flanker performs so well at those speeds is because the jet was optimized to perform in the transonic and low supersonic regime--between Mach 1.05 and Mach 1.2--but it will easily run to Mach 2+, Gallop says. "The thing can hold like 10 missiles, so you start hanging all those pylons and all those missiles on there and you're not going to be a Mach 2 machine," he says. "You not going to be doing Mach 1.3 in min burner, I guarantee it, but it just gives you an idea of how much power [the jet has]."

    This was an old original model Su-27--one can only imagine what a brand new Su-35S coming off the production line can do with its twin Saturn 117S engines, which produce 31,900 lbs thrust each. The original Saturn AF-31F produce 27,560 lbs thrust each.
     
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  4. indian_sukhoi

    indian_sukhoi Regular Member

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    AFAIK, Russian engines used to burn a lot of fuel compare to its western counterparts.

    Su35 doesnt have supercruise capability right? How much time can F-35, F-22, rafales and other supercruise aircraft can fly supersonic.



    Whereas, About the Fourth Generation aircrafts available in the market. Most of the nations cannot afford to maintain 4++ fighter planes. Why cant russia develop a single engine fighter for countries which have a less requirments?
     
  5. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Stupid marketing Slogans.. :thumb:
     
  6. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    deleted........
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  7. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    @indian_sukhoi

    You need to compare Su-35 with those aircraft, not Su-27. Su-35 has a more efficient engine and 11.5 tonnes of fuel.

    Anyway, the F-22 has demonstrated 100NM of supercruise at Mach 1.6 with a 600NM subsonic range at mach 0.9.

    At the figures posted here, Su-27 managed ~600Km with a 25 min mach 1.3 flight and the pilot says there will be enough fuel to fly back the same distance in the subsonic regime and still have fuel left over. That's 1200Km with clean airframe + stripped by at least 1 tonne.

    Note that the fuel consumption was 2750Kg (at 110Kg a minute) for the 25 min supersonic flight while the aircraft itself holds 9400Kg of fuel. So theoretically ~6600Kg remaining.

    Compared to established figure of F-22 vs Su-27, the F-22 supercruised for 180Km and subsonic cruise for 1100Km. Su-27 flew 600Km at supersonic speeds and still had more fuel than a Hornet with a drop tank which can give a 1500-2000 Km range at subsonic speeds. Now these figures for Su-27 isn't possible with a 8-10 BVR load, but what if the Su-35 can manage it.

    So you can only imagine.
     
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  8. Keshav Murali

    Keshav Murali Back to studies :( Senior Member

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    I believe that richer countries like India, Israel, China, US and Russia will buy at least 450-500 5th generation fighters. Poorer countries in Africa will buy Flanker variants as they are cheap and give good performance. What do you guys think?
     
  9. Austin

    Austin Regular Member

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    Twin Engine have their own virtues of having more safety if one engine fails either during peace time and specially if it takes a hit during war. IIRC i saw a paper from IAF study some years back which found twin engine fighter have 3x time more safety over single engine fighter when you take all parameters into consideration. If the engine takes a hit or gets burnt out due to FOD a twin engine pilot has a better chance to survive and bring back his aircraft.

    Single engine fighter have their own virtue of low maintenance , lower operation cost due to low fuel consumption.

    Because primarily they develop aircraft for their own Air Force then then for exports , there is barely any aircraft program that is purely built for export and not used by its own airforce , what RuAF does not buy also has low chance of getting an export customer specially for new types.

    Since Russia is a big country roughly 7x times of India and nearly 2x times of US , it has unique requirement for big fighters with long legs so that it does not need many number of fighter to do the same task , I doubt a single engine fighter would ever get passed from RuAF requirement desk but its not a bad idea either considering more powerful engine are available now and the threat of full scale war with NATO/US is almost non-existant , building a single engine fighter in times of economy tightening and higher fuel cost is very attractive.
     
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  10. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Maybe. But it depends on the final costs of the Flanker vs the FGFA.

    MKI costs $40 Million for IAF while it costs $50 Million for other markets like Malaysia and Algeria. Su-35 costs $65 Million according to some rumors. MKI with AESA and other upgrades could cost much more, lets say at least $80 Million.

    So unit costs of FGFA may be greater than Su-35 with PESA/AESA, but FGFA costs of operation may be significantly smaller as is being planned. Note that MKI costs a little more than a F-16 in costs per flying hours. If Sukhoi delivers FGFA at lesser costs compared to MKI, then even poorer African nations which can afford Flankers may end up buying the "cheaper" FGFA instead.

    However we cannot yet comment on costs for training and weapons.
     
  11. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    The thing about single engine fighters having lesser range than twin engine fighters isn't particularly correct.

    The F-16C on internal fuel (3.1 tonnes) has greater range than a F-15C on internal fuel (5.9 tonnes).

    The same if you compare F-16E with F-15E. F-16E can manage 4200Km with 3 fuel tanks and CFTs while F-15E can manage 3800Km with 3 fuel tanks and CFTs.

    The F-16E outranges Rafale as well. Rafale can do something like 3700Km with 3 tanks and 2 CFTs.

    Gripen Demo has a range of 4000+ Km with just two drop tanks, not even CFTs.

    Russian jets are unique in that. But they can develop a single engine fighter with a lot of internal fuel and great range. Su-35 can do around 4500Km with 2 external fuel tanks. F-16E should match MKI (with two fuel tanks).

    The drawback to this is that the single engine fighters will have lesser performance and lesser weapons to carry.
     
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