Su-34s yesterday, Su-35s today, RuAF expects new Su-57s within days

By year’s end, the United Aviation Corporation [UAC] aims to fulfill its yearly target for combat aircraft deliveries to the Russian Airborne Space Forces [VKS or RuAF]. 

Su-34s yesterday, Su-35s today, RuAF expects new Su-57s within days
Photo credit: UAC

As we revealed on November 22, UAC has delivered a fresh batch of Su-34 fighter-bombers. Today, Rostec, along with UAC and the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant, made public the delivery of a new set of Su-35s to the Russian military. As per their tradition, the plant shared a video of this significant milestone. 

The exact count of Su-35s in the new consignment wasn’t disclosed, echoing the scenario with the Su-34s’ delivery. The footage from the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant suggests the presence of at least two [maybe three] fighters. However, we need to remember that these images and videos don’t serve as an absolute reference for the final number of units delivered.

Statements

According to Vladimir Artyakov, Rostec’s first deputy general director, the Su-35S is a paramount fighter aircraft in the Russian military’s arsenal. He affirmed that its superior performance in real-time combat situations is a testament to its effectiveness. From his perspective, this aircraft combines a vast array of powerful features, including advanced long-range guided weapons for both air-to-air and air-to-surface combat, as well as a state-of-the-art electronic defense system. 

Designed for ultimate air superiority, the Su-35 aircraft can obliterate both ground and sea targets. It’s effective not just in daylight, but in adverse weather conditions as well, even at a great distance from Russian airfields. What’s impressive about this aircraft is its role as a bridge, easing the transition for pilots to fifth-generation aviation systems.

Russian Air and Space Forces (VKS) received a new batch of Su-35S
Video screenshot

More Su-57s are coming

UAC General Director, Yury Slyusar, made an announcement that the 2023 Su-35 delivery program has met its target with the recent delivery of the final batch. 

He acknowledged the hardworking plant employees responsible for the production of the Su-35 for their three-shift pattern – day, evening, and night. With their dedicated effort, they have been able to ensure the punctual delivery of combat fighter jets. 

Not stopping there, Slyusar shed light on future plans. He indicated that before the year’s end, the latest batch of Su-57 Felon fighters for 2023 will be joining the ranks of Russian combat aviation. The exact number, however, was a detail he preferred to keep under wraps. The previous delivery included three Su-57 fighters, which seems to align with a recurring pattern of the number “three” commonly associated with the delivery of various air combat platforms for the Russian army. 

Russia will unveil the export Sukhoi Su-57E fighter in India
Photo credit: Rosoboronexport

Taking a closer look at the Su-57, BulgarianMilitary.com recently reported the patenting of a “two-seater stealth version of a Russian fighter”. Many experts speculate that this is likely the same Su-57. It’s worth mentioning that Moscow made promises of a two-seated version of the Su-57 several years ago which is similar to what China did with its flagship J-20.

Effect on War

Without a doubt, the imminent arrival of the new Su-34, Su-35, and the highly-anticipated Su-57 jets, will provide a significant boost to the air combat capabilities of Russian forces in Ukraine. 

It’s important to remember that just a few days ago, Ukrainian officials disclosed a marked increase in the frequency of targeted airstrikes by the Russian Aerospace Forces [VKS], indicating an increase to six times the previous rates. 

They pointed to the utilization of advanced glide bombs, renowned for their enhanced precision, and novel aviation tactics that have extended the duration of a single airstrike over Ukraine to around three hours. 

Reflecting on these developments, senior officer Yuriy Ignat of the Ukrainian Armed Forces acknowledged in a Strana online portal report that these amplified VKS activities have hindered the Ukrainian economy by causing stagnation in business operations. 

RuAF conducted a night attack with RBK-500 SHOAB cluster bombs
Photo credit: Telegram

The involvement of the Su-57 jet in the ongoing conflict is no longer under wraps, especially in light of a recent report from Ukrainian intelligence suggesting that the Su-57 has now been deployed to the frontlines in the Kherson region.

Su-35S Flanker-M

In the realm of Russian Aerospace Forces, the T-10BM design is known as the Su-35S. According to Aviation Week & Space Technology, the symbol “S” represents Stroyevoy, which refers to a combatant. In NATO terminology, it’s called the Flanker-M. 

The Flanker M, or Su-35BM, signifies the latest upgrade of the Sukhoi Su-35, an advanced air superiority fighter jet birthed from the Su-27. With its premier maneuverability [+9g] and a high angle of attack, complemented by top-tier weapon systems, this version boasts unbeatable dogfighting capabilities. 

Egyptian Su-35 Flanker-E fighters are going to Iran in March
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Back in August 2009, the Russian Air Force requested 48 units of the Sukhoi Su-35S, with the expectation that deliveries would continue until 2015. Component production for the aircraft assembly commenced in November 2009 by Sukhoi. 

The aircraft also received upgrades in terms of technology. An integrated information management system working in conjunction with onboard subsystems and a novel phased array radar system, capable of long-range aerial target detection, were introduced. In August 2011, the maiden Su-35S aircraft was handed over to the 929th State Flight Test Center [GLITS] for flight testing. 

The Russian Ministry of Defense was on the receiving end of six Su-35S production aircraft from Sukhoi in December 2012. Subsequently, in 2015, China placed an order for 24 Su-35S aircraft for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.

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