The Agile Threat : Su(khoi)Superagility
Su-27 - single-seat air superiority fighter. The plane has an integral aerodynamic layout, which permitted it to attain high values of lift/drag ratio and lift coefficient along with assuring a considerable increase in the internal fuel reserve and, hence, to do away with the drop fuel tanks. Two AL-31F afterburning bypass turbojet engines, each having a maximum thrust of 12,500 kgf, provide the plane with an excellent thrust-to-weight ratio and agility. The engine air intakes are fitted with mesh guards, preventing the ingress of foreign matter into the engines during landing and take-off. The K-36DM ejector seat allows the crew to escape in emergency irrespective of the aircraft flight altitude and speed, including when it runs on the airfield.
As an air superiority fighter, the Su-27 is meant to destroy air targets both over friendly territory and 300-400 km away from the line of contact. It can operate in ECM and air defence fire environments, in all weathers, day and night. The aircraft can also destroy ground targets with bombs and missiles. The high combat effectiveness of the Su-27 is assured by:
The most noticeable differences of Su-27UB are:
A stripped version of the Su-27, without armament or electronics, used to set time-to-height records.
Accordingly, one of the T-10S prototypes was stripped of all armament, radar and operational equipment, the fin tips were removed, as was the tailboom and the wingtip launch rails. Even the radome was replaced by a lighter metal fairing. Stripped of paint, the aircraft was polished and all drag-producing gaps and joints were sealed. The engines were modified to give an increase in thrust of 2,204lbs - giving the P-42, as the modified aircraft was designated, a phenomenal thrust-to-weight ratio of almost 2:1.
The mainwheel brakes could not hold the aircraft at full thrust so the P-42 was anchored to a tracked armoured vehicle by a steel hawser with an electronic lock. With the engines wound up to full power, the hawser was released and the P-42 leaped into the air and climbed at an optimum angle to altitude.
Between 1986 and 1988 the P-42, piloted variously by Victor Pugachev, Nikolai Sadovnikov, Oleg Tsoi and Yevgeni Frolov, took no less than 27 records from the Streak Eagle, including time-to-height records for 3000, 6000, 9000, 12000 and 15000 metres, a height record of 19335m (63435 ft) and time-to-height records with various payloads. The aircraft even set records for STOL aircraft with a take-off run of less than 1540ft ! Most of these records still stand to this day. Following list is an extarct from official data, posted on FAI site:
Group 3 (Jet engines)
Sub-class C-1i (Take-off weight 16000 to less than 20000 kg)
Group 3 (Jet engines)
Class N / Group 3 : Jet engine
Sub-class C-1 (Unlimited take-off weight)
Group 3 (Jet engines)
The visual differences from the basic Su-27
|This flying display sequence appeared in one of the Sukhoi's flyers which I was kindly provided by their staff at booth 2E15. This scheme does not fully show the exact routine flown by Su-37 at Paris'97, but closely matches first half. The super Flanker flew slightly extended sequence in which few elements were shuffled. For example the tail slide (16) was replaced with very tight loop and Hook (horizontal Cobra ) was added.
Both Saturday and Sunday performances (June 21st and 22nd) are available in MPEG format. Clicking on the individual element listed in the right column will download this particular part of the Su-37 display. Note that some elements are grouped so that a single clip contain several elements.
Flown by Evgueni Frolov (Sukhoi's spelling), Su-37 put on most marvelous display I have ever seen and was the only one to trigger applause. Not even Rafale was greeted so enthusiastically by (mostly French) public.
On Sunday, June 22nd, full display routine was not flown because pilot was not able to retract aircraft landing gear. However Frolov carried out very impressive climb (1), vertical roll (2), 3/4 loop (3) followed by Cobra (4) with landing gear extended!!! Only after this he cancelled the rest of the display to a great disappointment of the spectators.
This unfortunate mishap will certainly cause a slight damage to hard to beat Su-37 image. Within hours French TV made a comment on Sukhoi team unable "do things right" and pointed out "obvious" superiority of Rafale. What they failed to notice, however, is that none of other fighters managed to came close to Su-37 display with gear down or up.
Curiously, the video shown at Sukhoi booth clearly depicted Su-37 doing double Somersault (aka Kulbit). This maneuver was performed at higher altitude than "plain" airshow version.
2. Half vertical roll.
3. 3/4 loop.
4. "Pougatchev Cobra".
5. Heading reversal 90ox270o with descend.
6. Half loop.
7. "Pougatchev Cobra" with turn.
8. Flight at 450 pitch with 90o turn.
9. 1 1/2 roll.
10. Turn with reheat.
11. Fixed roll.
12. Half loop.
13. Somersault (Loop with min radius).
14. Heading reversal 90ox270o.
15. Flight at Vmin
16. Tail slide.
18. Heading reversal 90ox270o and landing.