Ukrainian Air Force experts have obtained important and so far confidential information about Su-35S fighter aircraft from its burnt remains
Amid intense fighting, Ukrainian forces reportedly shot down a Russian Su-35S fighter jet, the first of its kind, some two weeks ago with short-range missiles. For Russia, it was the loss of one of the country’s most advanced fighter jets. Ukraine’s military shared photos on social media showing the wreckage of an Su-35S multi-role fighter jet, the first loss in the war.
Ukraine’s aging air defence network allegedly shot down the large, twin-tailed fighter jet, often characterised as a fifth-generation fighter, just without the stealth. The Su-35S is an evolution of the Cold War-era Su-27 Flanker, a dedicated air superiority heavy fighter.
Ukrainian Air Force experts have obtained important and so far confidential information about this fighter aircraft from its burnt remains and information about it was also sent to the British intelligence agency. British and American scientists are now investigating the secret technology of Russia’s most advanced fighter jet.
Equipment from the Sukhoi Su-35S has been moved to the British Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) where two experts from the US Air Force took 10 days to investigate them. Now all the equipment and information related to the Sukhoi Su-35S has been sent to Nevada, US for further forensic examination.
The fall of Russia’s first Sukhoi Su-35S fighter jet has not only shocked Russia, which currently has 47 Sukhoi Su-35S fighter jets, but has also worried China which is a major defence partner of Russia. In 2015, it signed a USD 2 billion deal with Russia to buy 24 Sukhoi Su-35S fighter jets.
Speciality of Sukhoi Su-35s Fighter Jet
The Sukhoi Su-35S is the best among the fifth-generation jet fighters in the Russian Air Force to date. Designed using fifth-generation technologies, the Su-35, called Flanker E as per NATO classification, is a super manoeuvrable, multi-purpose aircraft.
The two-engine frontline fighter jet has a distinct avionics system that uses a digital information control system and a new radar system that can effectively engage eight targets at a time.
With its unmatched manoeuvrability, state-of-the-art electronics technology and weapon capabilities, the Sukhoi Su-35S has proved to be a deadly competitor to most Western fighter jets of its generation such as the F-15, F-15s, Eurofighter and Dassault Rafale.
The single-pilot aircraft, estimated to cost about USD 50 million apiece, is controlled without the use of any analogue devices and can fly at speeds of up to 1,500 mph (2,400 kmph) with a range of 2,200 miles (3,600 km). In service of the Russian forces since 2014, the aircraft can carry a diverse range of weapons such as rockets, air-to-air missiles as well as air-to-surface missiles.
The Irbis (Snow Leopard) radar can detect an enemy fighter at up to 249 miles, and the aircraft can carry up to 17,637 pounds of fuel and weapons on external hard-points on the wings and fuselage. The Su-35’s offensive and defensive systems, as well as its sensors, are some of the most advanced in Russian service.
Comparison Between Sukhoi Su-35S And Rafale
India has purchased Rafale jet fighter from France to give strength to its Air Force. It is interesting to see how powerful Rafale is compared to Sukhoi Su-35S. China has also purchased Sukhoi Su-35S jet fighter from Russia. This makes it very important to take a look at the capabilities of both.
Rafale is the fifth generation state-of-the-art jet aircraft of France which can reach a maximum speed of Mach 1.8. It has 14 points for weapons. It has 190 kg missiles which can shoot at a distance of more than reach 100 kms.
It is fitted with an air-to-surface missile, which can be used to destroy bunker or fortified targets for a range of 70 kms. The weight of Rafale is 10 tonnes and take-off weight is 24.5 tonnes. Rafale can cover 3700 km in one go. It has the capability to fly up to a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet.
The Sukhoi Su-35S is an evolution of the Su-27 Flanker. The Su-27 was created during the Cold War and designed to compete with the F-15. Two thrust-vectoring engines have been used in the Sukhoi Su-35S. This engine technology is so far being used in only one western fighter F-22 Raptor. This engine helps the Su-35S to attack from very wide angles.
In other words, the aircraft can move in a different direction while its nose can be kept in the other direction. This greater angle of attack enables the Sukhoi Su-35S aircraft to strike any target with greater ease. This capability of Sukhoi Su-35S fighter aircraft is very useful for avoiding missile attack or dog-fighting.
The Sukhoi Su-35S can achieve a maximum speed of Mach 2.25 at higher altitudes, comparable to the F-22 and faster than the F-35 or F-16. The Sukhoi Su-35S is capable of flying at an altitude of 60,000 feet, which is equal to the F-15 and F-22 and 10,000 feet higher than the Super Hornet, Rafale and F-35.
The Sukhoi Su-35S can cover a range of 2,200 miles on a single charge and 2,800 miles if it is fitted with two external fuel tanks. This aircraft can fly at a maximum speed of 2,390 km/h. The weight of the Sukhoi Su-35S is approximately 18,400 kg and the maximum take-off weight is 34,500 kg.
The Sukhoi Su-35S has 12 hard points for weapon placement while there are eight hardpoints on the F-15C and F-22. It can detect its target from more than 400 km away. Whereas its radar can track 30 targets simultaneously. The state-of-the-art radar system enables the Sukhoi Su-35S to simultaneously track up to four ground targets or 30 air targets.
Also, it can target eight air targets at the same time. The radar of Sukhoi Su-35S has the ability to jam the radar of any western fighter jet. The radar also has an air-to-ground mode that can detect up to four ground targets simultaneously. It has an OLS-35 targeting system along with the radar, including an infra-red search and track (IRST) system. It is said that its range is fifty-miles.
Until Russia begins production of its fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, the Sukhoi Su-35S is expected to serve as Russia’s foremost fighter. Russia’s Sukhoi Su-35S may not be a stealth fighter jet, but it has helped make Russia a modern air force superpower again.

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