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    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond

    Rodion_Romanovic
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    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Empty Re: Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond

    Post  Rodion_Romanovic Fri Nov 24, 2023 2:18 pm

    I am not that sure that Russia is not interested in supersonic VTOL.

    Andrei Martyanov is also a "fan" of those and imagined a use of such aircraft from the 23900 amphibious assault ships/ helicopter carriers being built now in Zaliv.

    In 2017 it was already announced that Russia wanted to develop a VTOL fighter derived from the previous Yak VTOL airplanes.

    the latest airplanes project were all supersonic capable: the yak-41/ yak-41M/yak-141 (freestyle), the yak-43 (ground based version/ derivative of the yak-41) and the yak-201 project (on paper only, and the design probably stopped quite early, but the name could be reused.



    https://navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2017/july-2017-navy-naval-forces-defense-industry-technology-maritime-security-global-news/5406-russia-s-defense-ministry-discussing-development-of-vtol-plane-for-aircraft-carrier.html



    Russia’s Defense Ministry Discussing Development of VTOL Plane for Aircraft Carrier
    (July 2017)

    Russia’s Defense Ministry is currently in talks with aircraft makers to discuss the development of a promising vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) plane for a future aircraft carrier, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said.

    The fighter jet will derive from a group of vertical take-off and landing planes manufactured by the Yakovlev Company, he added.

    "The Defense Ministry is planning to launch the construction of an advanced aircraft carrier in the distant future, at the final stage of the 2018-2025 state armament program. Of course, the production of new-generation aircraft will begin by that time," Borisov said at the MAKS 2017 international airshow.

    "Today, the Sukhoi Su-33 [NATO reporting name: Flanker-D] and Mikoyan MiG-29 [Fulcrum-D] fighter jets are the basic planes for aircraft carriers, in particular, the ship Admiral Kuznetsov. The Defense Ministry is planning to develop a promising reduced take-off and landing or, probably, vertical take-off and landing plane and we are discussing this issue with aircraft producers," he added.

    "The plane will be a derivative of vertical take-off and landing aircraft developed by the Yakovlev Design Bureau, which are no longer produced. There are such plans and we are discussing them. The groundwork laid may be used to develop a new plane for aircraft carriers," the deputy defense minister said.

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    Mir
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    Post  Mir Sat Nov 25, 2023 8:35 am

    The A-40 Albatross is a Soviet era multi-purpose amphibious aircraft, the world's largest amphibious jet aircraft.

    Pictured here in formation with a firefighting version of the Be-12 - the aircraft it's supposed to replace.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 A40-0610

    This all-weather aircraft was designed  to destroy enemy submarines anywhere in the world.  Internal armament included sonar buoys, depth charges, mines, 3 Orlan torpedoes, or 6 Korshun guided missiles. Kh-35 Anti-ship missiles could be fitted on underwing pylons. The development of the aircraft began in 1983 and in December  1986, the prototype made its first flight from an airstrip and a year later the Albatross took to the air from water.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 16425510

    148 world records were set during flight tests. The aircraft’s first official display took place at the international air show in Le Bourget in 1991. The A-40, which had no analogues, was created primarily as an anti-submarine warfare aircraft, but the aircraft’s design turned it into a multi-purpose aircraft capable of carrying out search and rescue operations, as a passenger- or cargo plane. It was also well suited as a fire fighting machine. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, development of this promising aircraft came to a halt.

    Years later in 2002 the Russian Navy took a renewed interest in the project and the A-40 prototype  was restored into flying condition. In 2006 the A-42 prototype was completed, but the project once again ran into funding problems and the Defense Ministry again pulled the plug in 2011.

    In 2016, the project was resumed once again! This time the A-42 looked set to finally replace the Be-12 amphibious aircraft, and in September 2019 the Russian Navy placed an order for three A-42 aircraft.

    The A-42 was planned to use two Progress D-27 propfans, manufactured by Motor Sich in Ukraine. The A-42 would have received an upgrade to expand its combat capabilities, including a new radar and new communications equipment. However the Motor Sich engine manufacturing plant in Zaporozhie was destroyed by Russian forces in late May 2022 following the SMO.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Beriev10

    Hopefully the A-42 can also survive this setback with a new pair of turbines, and that the A-42 and other modifications of the A-40 will finally find their rightful place in the Russian Naval Aviation!

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    GarryB
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    Post  GarryB Sat Nov 25, 2023 10:06 am

    The Yak-41 was a true show stopper and was displayed at the Paris Air Show in 1991 and the following year at Farnborough, where it performed some truly remarkable "Freestyle" maneuvers. Freestyle was the NATO name given to the Yak-41.

    The compromises that allow it to fly supersonically also limit its capacity to carry fuel and weapons, and anything you could do to make it special like a super radar or other equipment you could also put on a conventional fighter of similar size.

    Its main party trick... being able to land vertically is over rated... they made similar claims for the Harrier... it can operate in shopping centre carparks... no it can't... all the plastic bags and rubbish destroys the engines faster than a Stinger missile would.

    Back then only VSTOL fighters had thrust vectoring engines. These days twin engine jets like the MiG-29OVT show rather better manouver performance without the compromise in performance created by having to take off vertically.

    I am not that sure that Russia is not interested in supersonic VTOL.

    Some people think it is amazing and means you could have postage stamp sized aircraft carriers on the cheap... that is what the British thought so the aircraft carriers they had in the 1970s had AWACS type aircraft and Phantom type fighters and Buccaneer type strike aircraft and were actually rather formidable... and then the accountants said fighters were useless and SAMS will do everything, and they ended up with tiny 20k ton aircraft carriers with 12 Harrier fighters on board... except they didn't.

    The purpose of an aircraft carrier is to defend you ships and project power, and these pocket carriers with their helicopter AEW and short range subsonic fighters whose best feature was all aspect air to air missiles they took directly from stocks for HATO use in the form of Lima and Mike model Sidewinders is why they got the kills they got, but the performance of the Harriers and lack of decent AWACS meant they had to hold their carriers back and send their ships forward... so despite expensive aircraft carriers and aircraft on those carriers they still couldn't defend the ships in their fleet.

    So for the saving of a few million to retire real carriers and have pocket carriers instead they ended up having to mount a ridiculous Vulcan bomber attack on the islands that was very convoluted and could have ended in disaster to take out runways on the islands... if they had Phantoms and Buccaneers it would not have been necessary and they likely would not have lost any ships at all.

    Of course without those pocket carriers they likely would have lost control of the Falklands islands completely.

    The VSTOL fighter was nothing special and in an air to air fight with Phantoms would lose every time because the Phantom would simply hang back and launch Sparrows till they shot them down. A Phantom with Lima and Mike model Sidewinders would have been more effective than Harriers especially when given early warning from the AWACS platforms... the Argentine pilots would never have even seen them.

    "The plane will be a derivative of vertical take-off and landing aircraft developed by the Yakovlev Design Bureau, which are no longer produced. There are such plans and we are discussing them. The groundwork laid may be used to develop a new plane for aircraft carriers," the deputy defense minister said.

    And when they can't solve the problems they had with the Yak-141 they might realise that the best replacement for the Su-33 is a naval Su-57, which would also make an Su-33KUB type redundant too because the Su-57 is already a fighter/strike aircraft, and the Mig-29 could be replaced by the new light 5th MiG twin engined stealth fighter.

    Hopefully the A-42 can also survive this setback with a new pair of turbines, and that the A-42 and other modifications of the A-40 will finally find their rightful place in the Russian Naval Aviation!

    The A-40 had two engines used by the Il-76 and were 12 ton thrust engines... which wasn't really quite enough so there were actually two more engines underneath the two visible engines each with 2 tons of thrust to boost power for takeoffs.

    A new A-40 could use PD-14s and do away with the recessed engines which should significantly increase performance with two lighter engines providing similar thrust and better fuel economy too.
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    Post  Mir Sat Nov 25, 2023 11:32 am

    GarryB wrote:The compromises that allow it to fly supersonically also limit its capacity to carry fuel and weapons, and anything you could do to make it special like a super radar or other equipment you could also put on a conventional fighter of similar size.

    Its main party trick... being able to land vertically is over rated... they made similar claims for the Harrier... it can operate in shopping centre carparks... no it can't... all the plastic bags and rubbish destroys the engines faster than a Stinger missile would.

    Back then only VSTOL fighters had thrust vectoring engines. These days twin engine jets like the MiG-29OVT show rather better manouver performance without the compromise in performance created by having to take off vertically.

    I don't think VTOL is dead. Apart from manned aircraft you will find VTOL application in drones and UAV's. It has some benefits and advantages over conventional takeoff aircraft and UAV's, but it also has it's limitations as you pointed out. I personally don't think that the Mig-29OVT would be able to take off and/or land on the Project 23900 Ivan Rogov?

    GarryB wrote:The A-40 had two engines used by the Il-76 and were 12 ton thrust engines... which wasn't really quite enough so there were actually two more engines underneath the two visible engines each with 2 tons of thrust to boost power for takeoffs.

    A new A-40 could use PD-14s and do away with the recessed engines which should significantly increase performance with two lighter engines providing similar thrust and better fuel economy too.

    Yes those small Rybinsk lift engines are made in Russia - so no need (or problem) to replace them, but perhaps you are right? Maybe with the PD-14's they won't need the lifters.

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    Rodion_Romanovic
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    Post  Rodion_Romanovic Sat Nov 25, 2023 11:34 am

    GarryB wrote:
    The A-40 had two engines used by the Il-76 and were 12 ton thrust engines... which wasn't really quite enough so there were actually two more engines underneath the two visible engines each with 2 tons of thrust to boost power for takeoffs.

    A new A-40 could use PD-14s and do away with the recessed engines which should significantly increase performance with two lighter engines providing similar thrust and better fuel economy too.
    I agree for the PD-14 but Actually already the PS90 would be a great improvement.

    As far as the D-27, it was a very promising engine when it came out. But I am sure that Russia can do something better, since I doubt that ivchenko progress and motor sich did many technological improvements since the fall of Soviet union.

    If they need a large turboprop engine Russia will probably make a turboprop or propfan version of the PD-8. Russia is already developing an helicopter engine (turboshaft) for the massive Mi-26 helicopter based on it called PD-8V (V stands for Vertalet (Вертолёт)). Converting a turboshaft into a turboprop is much easier, furthermore the gearbox and the propeller/propfan of the D-27 were made by the russian company Aerosila in Stupino (near Moscow).

    If the PD-8S is not powerful enough later also something starting from the PD-14 core could be made.

    Ad far as Motor Sich, its fate was a pity but it is normal that Russia targeted it, since it was used to produce or repair Military drones.

    Anyway I doubt much investment had been done in the meanwhile.
    A few years ago a new small turboshaft engine was in development there, the MS-500V and it had been also proposed for the Kazan ansat. Luckily Russia will have very soon its very own engine in this class, the VK-650V.

    Furthermore Russia has now modern engines in all classes previously made in Zaporozhye (except the very large with thrust above 20 tons, but in a few years also that gap will be covered).

    Possibly after the SMO Russia will build in Zaporozhye or in the Donbass a new engine factory subsidiary of UEC to allow for a larger rate of production.

    About aircraft projects lost in the 90s there was also the NK-93 propfan engine from Kuznetov which had been also proposed as alternative and more fuel efficient engine for the Ilyushin Il-96, Tupolev Tu-204, and for the never realised Tupolev Tu-330.
    Its development went at a snail pace for many years and was finally tested in flight with the Il-76LL (5 test flights between December 2006 to December 2008) before being forgotten again.

    In April 2014 the press-service of Samara Region reported that the Samara-based Kuznetsov Company planned to increase its production capacities and resume work on NK-93 and NK-32 projects.
    However while work on the NK-32 was confirmed and a modernised version was developed, nothing was later said on the NK-93.

    The NK-93 was in theory close to certification and its performances were considerably better than the PS-90, but now that the PD-14 has been developed, the NK-93 (at least in the original version) doesn't make much sense.

    Possibly Russia could work again on a new propfan project reusing the experience from the NK-93 development, but with the PD-14 core (which is at least a generation newer) and with new materials.

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    GarryB
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    Post  GarryB Sun Nov 26, 2023 3:42 am

    I don't think VTOL is dead. Apart from manned aircraft you will find VTOL application in drones and UAV's. It has some benefits and advantages over conventional takeoff aircraft and UAV's, but it also has it's limitations as you pointed out. I personally don't think that the Mig-29OVT would be able to take off and/or land on the Project 23900 Ivan Rogov?

    The thing is that VTOL is alive in the Ka-52K... it could carry R-77s and R-73 and R-74 missiles and defend a ship just fine... getting its radar into the air... even just 4km up allows it to see quite a distance in any direction so ship based SAMs can take out targets at 100km plus... from a helicopter an R-77 is not going to reach more than about 30-40km depending on the altitude and flight speed it is launched at but it fills the gap between CIWS and long range fighters, and it fills the radar gap around the ships too.

    The fixed wing aircraft extends the ring of protection and vision out to 1,000km for most planes and probably 2,000km with the Su-57K with it being able to fly at altitude and efficient supersonic cruise with very low drag.

    VTOL UAVs are not supersonic fighters and I agree that drones might be suitable for a variety of roles.

    Ivan Rogov is a helicopter carrier that is a landing craft for a force of Naval Infantry... they need VSTOL fighters like a teenage boy needs herpes and pimples.

    One of the helicopter carriers is going to have troops and their armour and the helicopters needed to move them ashore and protect them from enemy forces. The other carrier will also likely have helicopters but will also have drones... land, sea and air drones in huge numbers, including enormous numbers of suicide drones and recon drones to scout the land and sea for enemy and attack. It wont be carrying fighter planes because why would you keep the Kuznetsov if you thought you could fit fighters on a postage stamp?

    Putting fighters on a helicopter carrier is not just a case of taking four helicopters off and putting four fighters on.... fighters burn a hell of a lot more fuel than helicopters do and the amount of ordinance they can carry is higher too, which reduces the space for everything else it will be needing for the mission.

    We were sold the Harrier in the 1980s and it turns out it was never as great as they pretended. Those four nozzles mounted on the sides of the Harrier made it horribly vulnerable to even old terrible models of MANPADS like Redeye and the first generation Strela. They stick out and can even be fired on from the front with a chance of hitting it.

    The Yak-38 was even worse because of its tiny thin wing for near supersonic flight meant its actual manouver performance was awful and the lift it generated for rolling takeoffs was not that great either... and you can't carry much payload on four wing pylons.... something I would have thought they would have learned with the Yak-141... but didn't.

    Hot air ingestion is the core problem that manifests when the aircraft comes in to land vertically... which is also one of the times it is most vulnerable to crash... take off is the other time.

    The geared fan connected to the main engine is one solution but it makes the plane fat and together with internal weapon carriage for stealthiness and you are pushing number twos uphill if you want to make it supersonic.

    I think having proper conventional 5th gen fighters on your carriers makes sense... spend a little money to save money.... they are likely to only get two new CVNs.... they are going to be nuclear powered so make them big enough to be useful.

    My biggest issue with VSTOL fighters is that the bean counters will claim they don't need 70-90K ton aircraft carriers... just use container ships and Harrier jump jets... and if that worked why would the UK have two aircraft carriers? The French have proper aircraft carriers too and they plan for a 75K ton nuclear powered carrier with cats and proper AWACS. The Soviets came to the same conclusion after experience with helicopter carriers first and then Kiev class VSTOL carriers, they then went to Kuznetsov and then the even bigger Ulyanovsk carriers too... the latter with nuclear power and cats.

    The Russians are very clever and their engineers are brilliant, but VSTOL fighters so far have been enormously expensive and not actually better than otherwise quite conventional fighters.

    The role of the VSTOL fighter is to combine the vertical takeoff of a helicopter with the speed and range and performance of a supersonic fighter, and I think current attempts have been expensive failures... the thrust vectoring nozzle experience is good for conventional fighters with thrust vectoring nozzles... and that can be returned to the VSTOL fighter, because although their nozzles did rotate they were not 3D nozzles with fine tolerances to balance the aircraft in the hover... so high pressure air from the engine is piped to the nose and the tail and the wing tips in puffer jets to allow the aircraft to stabilise itself in the hover when the wings and tail surfaces no longer have any effects. If you could arrange engines either side of the cg and give them all thrust vectoring nozzles then all that plumbing will become unnecessary which would make the VSTOL fighter lighter and rather less vulnerable to damage... The core problem though is hot engine exhaust on the belly of the aircraft limiting weapons to the wings, and the risk of hot air ingestion causing an engine stall very close to the ground which can easily destroy your aircraft... especially when the deck is heaving up and down in common sea conditions....

    Yes those small Rybinsk lift engines are made in Russia - so no need (or problem) to replace them, but perhaps you are right? Maybe with the PD-14's they won't need the lifters.

    Was thinking mostly about simplification of the design and perhaps a small power boost to improve payload and perhaps carry more fuel for better range or endurance.

    About aircraft projects lost in the 90s there was also the NK-93 propfan engine from Kuznetov which had been also proposed as alternative and more fuel efficient engine for the Ilyushin Il-96, Tupolev Tu-204, and for the never realised Tupolev Tu-330.
    Its development went at a snail pace for many years and was finally tested in flight with the Il-76LL (5 test flights between December 2006 to December 2008) before being forgotten again.

    Most of the articles I have read it was revolutionary at the time and put western engines to shame so they killed the engine and the aircraft as best they could under Yeltsin, and during the early Putin years when they had to play nice with Kiev and support Ukrainian stuff ahead of more promising Russian stuff.

    Possibly Russia could work again on a new propfan project reusing the experience from the NK-93 development, but with the PD-14 core (which is at least a generation newer) and with new materials.

    The purpose of the PD family is to create a family of engines in a range of power levels that can be adapted to different roles... the PD family use new technology and design and materials to boost performance and efficiency, so using it as the basis for a new NK-93 engine type would be rather interesting... for a while the propfan was supposed to be the next big thing but then they stopped making them and talking about them.

    Suspicious.
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    Post  Mir Sun Nov 26, 2023 9:52 am

    GarryB wrote:The thing is that VTOL is alive in the Ka-52K... it could carry R-77s and R-73 and R-74 missiles and defend a ship just fine

    Yes we've been around the block with this one a couple of times but I'm sorry your idea is never going to fly. Trying to turn a brilliant attack helicopter into a interceptor is a very bad idea. Neutral

    GarryB wrote:VTOL UAVs are not supersonic fighters

    BUT they will be very soon.

    GarryB wrote:Ivan Rogov is a helicopter carrier that is a landing craft for a force of Naval Infantry...

    That is a very narrow description. Even the modernized Ivan Gren design would be able to operate VTOL aircraft.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Americ11

    The Turks even intends to operate theirs as a dedicated drone carrier but it can be used in many other roles.


    Last edited by Mir on Sun Nov 26, 2023 10:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Post  Mir Sun Nov 26, 2023 10:12 am

    Mig-29M and the Mig-29K

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Mig29m13

    The father of the modern day Mig-35 and the Mig-29KR. A competing design against the modernized variants of the Su-27 during the late 80's and into the 90's.

    The development of the Mig-29M started as long ago as the late 1970's. The program was known as izdeliye 9.15. The main objective was to create a fully multi-role Mig-29 and with a significant increase in combat range. This resulted in a magnificent aircraft so different from the basic Mig-29 that it became known as a 4+ generation multi-role fighter.  It featured radical improvements in airframe design, avionics and armament.
     
    A true multi-role all-weather combat  aircraft tasked to perform various missions including air superiority , interceptor and engaging various air to ground targets with a variety of weapons including "smart" munitions and the suppression of enemy air defenses.

    Six flying prototypes and a static were built. The more reliable RD-33K engine was fitted, which was a modified version of the one fitted in the Mig-29K. The radar was the Zuk N010 with multi-mode functions with an increased detection range. FBW controls were fitted and the auxiliary intakes were removed and the solid FOD door replaced by a grid door.

    The airframe structure was welded and not riveted which not only reduced the aircraft's weight but increased internal space for fuel. The airbrakes was replaced with a similar design as on the Su-27. The removal of the auxiliary intakes also allowed additional fuel capacity. Interestingly the first five prototypes had false auxiliary intakes painted on them to hide this new development from spy satellites.  Cool

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Mig-2914

    The shipborne variant (Mig-29K) shared many of the same design and system features of the Mig-29M but there were some obvious differences. For instance the engines was an uprated RD-33K specially developed to improve deck performance. Two prototypes were built.  Interestingly - unlike the Su27K(Su-33) - the Mig-29K never had the chance to complete it's flight deck trails on the Tbilisi. With the demise of the Soviet Union the carrier, now renamed Kuznetsov, was quickly moved to Novorossiysk and all flights were suspended. In the end the Su-33 was selected for carrier duties.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Mig29k11

    Once again the demise of the Soviet Union meant that funding dried up, but Mikoyan continued development trying to fund the project themselves. A downgraded version he Mig-29M was offered on the export market and was known as the Mig-29ME or Mig-33.

    Further developments of the Mig-29M included  the Mig-29UBM combat trainer and the Mig-29Sh attack aircraft. Another project was a deep upgrade of the Mig-29M which would have resulted in a much larger 5th generation fighter aircraft with canards. (Sounds like the Mig-1.44!?)The idea was to upgrade the aircraft in three stages and was known as the Mig-29M1/M2/M3. This project has little in common with the  later Mig-29M2.

    All these project were shelved due to lack of funds. However many of the ideas were implemented many years later in both the Mig-35 and Mig-29KR.

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    Post  Mir Mon Nov 27, 2023 12:11 pm

    The Su-27M - Sukhoi's first 4+ generation fighter.

    Pictured here is the 9th prototype taxiing on the runway at Waterkloof Airbase in South Africa.
    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su35-210

    The Su-27 became the first Soviet fighter to feature a blended wing/body design. In Russian terminology it was referred to as "integral layout", with the wings and the fuselage forming a single lifting body, that also included wing leading-edge root extensions (LERX). The LERX was not completely understood in the beginning but research very clearly demonstrated the importance of the vortexes that was formed due to the LERX.

    The basic Su-27 was an engineering marvel and it was precisely this feat that allowed the Sukhoi OKB to develop a whole range of advanced tactical aircraft starting in the 80's. The superb earodynamic features on the Su-27 family resulted in the now famous Pugachev's Cobra, Kulbit and tailslide maneuvers that redefined dogfight tactics.

    The first of these aircraft was the T-10M, better known as the Su-27M, which made it's first flight in June 1988. Later this aircraft became known as the Su-35 and turned out to be one of Sukhoi's greatest engineering feats, where every aspect of the fighter was vastly improved.

    The most obvious feature of the Su-27M was the addition of canards which gave the aircraft even greater agility - especially in terms of angle of attack (AoA). The canards together with the LERX allowed the Su-27M to pull 10G's briefly, without any additional structural reinforcement!

    The Su-27M was the worlds first fighter to incorporate an automatic spin recovery feature. With the addition of an inflight refueling probe the already excellent range could be extended dramatically. Can you imagine the surprise on the face of a Cold War Tornado F3 pilot coming across a Su-27M escorting a Tu-160 over the North Sea!

    The aircraft was a true multi-role combat aircraft  and the number of hardpoints were increased from an already impressive 10 to 12. I personally had the pleasure of witnessing the T-10M-9 prototype in action at Waterkloof Airbase in South Africa. An awesome sight to behold and it had no TVC! The first complete set of TVC's was only incorporated into the T-10M-11. The 11th prototype also came with digital FBW controls, replacing the analogue FBW controls of previous aircraft. This aircraft became known as the Su-37.

    The Su-37 showing off it's TVC's
    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su37-210

    A single Su-35UB two seater prototype was also produced and featured TVC's. The Su35UB probably has a lot in common with the current production Su-30SM2.

    In 1995 three production standard aircraft were delivered to the VKS for evaluation trails, but sadly the order for more never came - well not until much later.

    The next step came years later with the Su-35BM - a 4++ generation fighter - which featured significant changes to the airframe, including the removal of the canards.  It was equipped with an updated N035 Irbis-E radar and a redesigned cockpit. The aircraft was powered byTV AL-41F1S turbofan engines that were capable of super cruise. The Su-35BM was the prototype for the current production Su-35S who finally made it into service in 2009!

    The second Su-35BM prototype in full glory!
    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su35bm10

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    Post  GarryB Tue Nov 28, 2023 1:53 am

    Yes we've been around the block with this one a couple of times but I'm sorry your idea is never going to fly. Trying to turn a brilliant attack helicopter into a interceptor is a very bad idea.

    Which just shows you have not really been paying attention... I only ever mention the air to air capacity of the Ka-52K when people say that they need an air to air capacity for the helicopter carriers.

    The best air to air capacity for their navy comes from proper fixed wing aircraft carriers and making half arsed pocket carriers with VSTOL fighters is the dumbest idea ever because it works out to be a significant fraction of the cost of a real fixed wing carrier with none of its capacity.

    A helicopter could take off with four AA missiles loaded... perhaps R-27E missiles for their extra engine power to shoot down significant threats and a four pack if Igla-S missiles for engaging drones in close to the ships, but most of its time will be attacking and finding ground targets.

    On land the MiG-29 and the Su-27 worked together, with the Su-27 having the reach to intercept threats well away from friendly areas, while the MiG-29 operated on or near the battlefield hitting air and surface targets as required... I would modify that to say that drones are such a threat that dedicated small drone helicopters with perhaps 2 x 7 shot 80mm rocket pods with a total of 14 laser homing 80mm rockets would be ideal for dealing with drones in the air or on the surface around ships under way or moored off the coast where a landing is taking place.. a Ka-52K with airburst 30mm cannon shells would be rather good for the job too, but obviously only when threats were detected... helicopters would deal with drone attacks better than fighters, but then fighters would deal better with a range of other threats like enemy aircraft and enemy missiles and small surface craft.

    In many situations the aircraft might not even launch anything and are only there to detect the presence of a threat so a surface ship could engage with TOR or Pantsir missiles or 30mm cannon shells or indeed 57mm or 76mm or even 100mm cannon shells.

    The point is that the Yak-141 is a fast jet and a supersonic VSTOL fighter is like using a MiG-35 or Su-35 to do the job of the Su-25... in real operation a VSTOL fighter does not fly all the time in the hover... it is just not fuel efficient and hard on the engines so most of the time it wont be flying around like a helicopter could, which actually makes the helicopter better for dealing with small and tiny drone threats.

    Bigger air threats can be dealt with using conventional aircraft like the MiG-29K and Su-33... and their 5th gen replacements seem to be on their way.

    There wont be any situation where the Russian Navy will think... hey... we need a helicopter carrier here but it is not important enough to send the Kuznetsov too.

    They will act as a group so fixed wing supersonic fighters will be available.

    Why go the expense and cost to make a supersonic fighter (which you already have) into a helicopter (which you also already have).


    BUT they will be very soon.

    So if they are going to be replaced by supersonic drones why bother wasting money making a manned version?

    When designing something you need to take a lot of things into consideration if the platform is going to be manned, so taking the man out of the equation greatly simplifies the design and makes it much much cheaper.

    When the problem is to have a plane that can fly 16,000km you don't start by saying... hey the Tu-95 can fly that far now... lets just take the people out and we have the drone we need, because the Tu-95 is expensive and huge even without people on board.


    That is a very narrow description. Even the modernized Ivan Gren design would be able to operate VTOL aircraft.

    Its purpose is to land large forces of Naval Infantry, and their armour, and it does this with landing craft (conventional and hovercraft), and with helicopters.

    Putting air defence fighter aircraft on board would take up valuable space better used for things that wont be carried on accompanying ships.

    The Turks even intends to operate theirs as a dedicated drone carrier but it can be used in many other roles.

    They are not allowed F-35s and their V-22s are dogs too... the air compliment shown on that ship probably costs more than the ship both to buy and to operate.

    Another project was a deep upgrade of the Mig-29M which would have resulted in a much larger 5th generation fighter aircraft with canards. (Sounds like the Mig-1.44!?)The idea was to upgrade the aircraft in three stages and was known as the Mig-29M1/M2/M3. This project has little in common with the later Mig-29M2.

    No, it was a scaled up (physically bigger) MiG-29 but with canard foreplanes fitted to allow it to better compete with the Su-27 on the international market... they called it MiG-35 for a bit but had nothing to do with the MiG-35 we know today...

    The main change from the original MiG-29 to the MiG-29M was that the latter was wielded and had sealed internal compartments so with the newer aircraft you could put piping to a section and fill it with fuel, whereas in the older aircraft you had to put a fuel tank in there because filling it with fuel and the fuel would leak out between the panels. The newer aircraft had much more internal space for fuel and of course was a lot lighter.

    You can tell the old MiG-29M and MiG-29K from the current MiG-29M MiG-29K and MiG-35, because the new aircraft all have two seat canopies and full sized radars and are fully operational whether single or two seat.

    With the old MiGs the airframes for the single and two seat models were different, and the two seaters were really only good for training... but were also rather cheaper.

    There was nothing wrong with the MIGs... it was just a time when there wasn't enough money to fund having the high and low mix of aircraft... the intent of the low fighter is to allow the country to operate significant numbers of aircraft without spending too much money like you would if they were all big expensive aircraft.

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    Post  Mir Tue Nov 28, 2023 10:19 am

    The Su-30 two-seater family

    When Sukhoi decided to create a two-seater for the Su-27, they had a choice. Either design a dedicated trainer or a dual-role trainer retaining the single-seat's combat capabilities. They chose the more difficult path - going for a dual-role aircraft. This choice played a crucial role in Sukhoi's later success with the Su-30 family of aircraft in the export market. The combat capable Su-27UB formed the basis of all these further developments.

    Work on the Su-27PU (Su-30) for the Soviet VKS started in the mid 80's already. The aircraft was not only designed as an interceptor, but also as an airborne command post. As proof on concept two standard Su-27UB was used. Cramming all the new equipment into the aircraft was a tough job, but they completed the task within six months.

    The idea proved successful and shortly after the Su-30 was ordered into production for the Russian VVS. In April 1992 the first production machine took off from Irkutsk. The Su-30 was an unique aircraft. Not only was it a very capable interceptor, but it could perform AEW&C, CAP, escort duties as well as pilot training. The inflight refueling probe (IFP) gave it a much greater combat radius to adequately perform all these duties.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su-30-10

    Due to the hard economic times in Russia during the 90's only seven production aircraft were completed despite excellent results during simulated exercises, which included the Mig-31B and the A-50.

    However Sukhoi kept one eye on the lucrative export market and started working on a multi-role combat aircraft with improved strike capabilities. The first variant was the Su-30K(or MK) and it immediately found a customer - India. The Su-30MK and was not fitted with a IFP and only a relatively small number was ordered.

    In 2000 an upgrade of the Su-30MK was getting off the ground resulting in the Su30MKI. A vast improvement on the earlier aircraft resulting in a true 4+ generation aircraft that included similar canards that was fitted on the Su-35 and TVC. The avionics was changed to Indian specifications and demands, but Sukhoi still had overall program responsibility to ensure compatibility. In March 1998 India approved modified avionics suite followed by an initial order for 40 aircraft from the Sukhoi IAPO plant. And so begins a success story. In December 2004 HAL purchased a license to manufacture the Su-30MKI's in India.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su30mk10

    The next big success story was China - which already had the Su-27SK in service. The key requirement for the PLAAF was to increase the range and endurance of the aircraft by fitting a IFP. Another requirement was that the aircraft would be able to take off with maximum fuel and weapons load - and lastly that it should be a multi-role two-seater. Sensibly KnAAPO was awarded the contract - securing large scale production at both Sukhoi plants.

    The Chinese version was dubbed the Su-30MKK and lacked the canards and TVC feature of the Su30MKI. KNAAPO produces a large batch of Su-30MKK's for the PLAAF followed by an improved version - the Su-27MK2 which is somewhat similar in appearance to the Indian MKI with it's canards.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su30mk11

    In 2009 another batch of Su-30's made it into VVS service - this time as the improved Su-30M2. These aircraft are mainly used in Su-27M1/2/3 units.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su30m210

    The Su-30MK variants were exported to various countries in considerable quantities which allowed Sukhoi to divert funds to develop more advanced versions of the Su-30MK for the Russian Airforce and Naval Aviation. The result was the Su-30SM and the much improved Su-30SM2, which is a 4++ generation fighter equal to the Su-35S.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su30sm10

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    Post  GarryB Tue Nov 28, 2023 10:33 am

    The Su-30s were used by the PVO so I believe it was actually an Su-30 that passed target information to the MiG-31M that performed the successful shoot down of a target over a distance of 300km.

    At the time the MiG-31M didn't have its full Radar Zaslon-M fitted so there was no way for it to detect and track a target more than 300km away so an Su-30 (flying closer to the target) detected the target and provided interception information to the MiG-31M until the R-37 missile got within range of the target and could acquire the target for itself.

    Very much the same sort of thing with A-50s detecting enemy targets and passing on target information to S-300 or S-400 batteries to engage targets they can't detect using their own sensors.

    This is something most of their new systems can do, so while say a MiG-35 can track 30 targets, it cannot engage 30 targets with the weapons it carries, but it should be able to pass tracking target data to other platforms so those other platforms can engage the targets.

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    Post  Mir Tue Nov 28, 2023 10:46 am

    GarryB wrote:The Su-30s were used by the PVO so I believe it was actually an Su-30 that passed target information to the MiG-31M that performed the successful shoot down of a target over a distance of 300km.

    From Yefim Gordon's book on the Su-27 family.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su30-210
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    Post  GarryB Wed Nov 29, 2023 3:06 am

    Yes, correct, but I am talking about when they tested the R-37 air to air missile to its max flight range, which was 300km.

    That quote confirms that the MiG-31 can transmit data to Su-30s (because they are both PVO aircraft).

    Normally the MiG-31 has the best radar range... especially when they fly in formation a few hundred kilometres apart and link radars to form a massive radar coverage over 1,000km across, so if they spot something you don't want them to leave formation and attack targets, you want to be able to send other aircraft to attack the targets you find while you keep looking for more targets.

    When testing the R-37 missile whose flight range is well beyond that of standard MiG-31s radars which is what this MiG-31M had at the time, they needed something to fly closer to the target to use their onboard radar to detect the target and feed target information to the MiG-31M with the missile they were testing onboard.

    Using the target data from the Su-30 flying closer to the target the MiG-31M that was rather further away was able to launch its R-37 which reportedly flew 300km to the point of impact to hit the target.

    Assuming a normal subsonic target that would mean the target was probably 350km or further away when the MiG-31M would normally have detected it and fired its missile so by the time the missile had covered 300km the aircraft target would have covered 50km, but as I said the first time around the MiG-31M didn't have a fully operational new Zaslon-M radar at the time so they used another aircraft closer to the target (because its radar wasn't better than the new radar they planned for the MiG-31M) to provide the target information needed for launch.

    Sorry for the over explanation, but I thought I was clear enough the first time.

    As mentioned in Yefims quote, normally when operating as a radar picket the MiG-31s would fly subsonically to increase their range and endurance and as mentioned Su-30s would follow from behind at about 60km... not needing to use their radar. When the MiG-31s in the lead detected targets they would pass target data back to the Su-30s who would climb and accelerate to supersonic speed and launch air to air missiles at the targets... the Su-30s have plenty of fuel to go supersonic for a missile launch and lots of missiles to fire at targets too. The MiG-31s would continue to monitor the airspace and confirm kills or order follow up attacks.
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    Post  Mir Wed Nov 29, 2023 8:17 am

    Much like the Formula 1 Champion "Red 01" takes up it's rightful place on the grid in pole position.

    The Su-27P - the world's best 4th generation air superiority fighter. It's days maybe numbered but it has left a legacy to insure it's superiority for years to come.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su27-210

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    Post  Mir Wed Nov 29, 2023 8:33 am

    The Su-25T
    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su25t-10

    Combat operations in Afghanistan proved that the Su-25's design was a resounding success, but it also confirmed that an all-weather capable variant was required. An all-weather tank killer was actually a vital requirement in any future war against NATO - or in hindsight maybe not!  Laughing  

    The Sukhoi OKB started work on the weapons complex for the Su-25T in 1980 and in 1981, the specific operational requirement was finalized.

    The canon and the engine (slightly upgraded) was retained from the Su-25. The 9M120 Vikhr became the standard ant-tank missile armament and the production of the first prototype commenced in 1983.

    The aerodynamic layout was virtually identical to the Su-25UB trainer. The nose was slightly longer and was fitted with a larger sensor window. The space for the second seat was retained for avionics and fuel, but was blanked over by a metal fairing.

    As with so many new projects deception was part of the game. The second window was painted in to fool spy satellites. The canon was moved to a position below the center fuselage and the defensive suite was improved.

    The aircraft was able to use a wide variety of missiles, rockets and bombs - including the Kh-58U anti-radar missile on it's ten underwing hardpoints. The maximum weapons load was more than 4000 tonnes!

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su25t-11

    The Su-25T entered low rate production and development was shifted to the Su-25TM - the first true all-weather variant. This was achieved with a radar suspended under the belly in a pod and by the improved Shkval-M optical sensor in the nose. Initially the radar was supposed to be the advanced MMW Khinzal but due to lack of funds the well known but inferior Kopyo for the Mig-21bis was selected.

    In 1995 the Su-25TM got it's name changed to Su-39 but the name Su-25TM was still used occasionally. The Su-39 became a true all-weather tactical combat aircraft with the addition of the Kh-31 anti-ship-missile and the R-77/73 air-to-air-missiles.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su25tm10

    There were plans made to produce the aircraft in Russia. The production order at the Ulan-Ude factory for the Su-29TM came in 1998 but due to the changing political and economic landscape nothing happened. Perhaps the lessons learned during the SMO may just give the Su-25TM a second chance?


    Last edited by Mir on Wed Nov 29, 2023 12:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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    Post  Rodion_Romanovic Wed Nov 29, 2023 9:30 am

    @Mir

    Well many years have passed since the su-25TM/Su-39 was developed.

    It is true that the su-25SM was a more affordable and less comprehensive modernisation, but the latest SM3 have also many improvements made since also the sirian conflict. Furthermore other upgrades were made for the mi-28 and ka-52 helicopters (like the electronic and jamming air defense system named Vitebsk-25) but not all of them were included in the Su-25 SM3 modernisation.

    I believe a new production Su-25 should be a sort of combination of the upgrades proposed or implemented for the su-39, su-25SM3 and the latest for the attack helicopters.

    I do not know if it make sense to restart production at Ulan-Ude or if it is better to think about a different plant.

    Furthermore an export version could be of interest for many countries. The su-25 has been proven in many conflicts and have a well defined role.

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    Post  Mir Wed Nov 29, 2023 9:43 am

    I think Ulan-Ude is just fine but the 90's proved to be a very dark period for the Russians with a lot of economic and political turmoil. A lot of talk and empty promises came to none. Having said that, there was at least an effort made to open Su-25T production in Russia. Let's see what happens after the SMO?

    Edit: I see I made an editing mistake in my post above - just corrected it to avoid confusion. Smile

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    Post  Mir Fri Dec 01, 2023 2:48 pm

    In the early 90's Mikoyan came up with an advanced upgrade package for the Mig-21bis. It was known as the Mig-21-93. The upgrade was centered around the Kopyo radar which was a big step up from the previous RP-22 radar installed in the Mig-21bis. The detection range of Kopyo was more than doubled over the earlier radar.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Mig21-10

    The cockpit received a major upgrade which included a HUD and MFD. The new bulged canopy gave more headroom. The windshield was a one-piece wrap around which improved visibility even further. Another big step up was the ability to use of more modern missiles that included the R-77/27 and R-73.

    Success came when the IAF decided to upgrade their Mig-21bis to UPG standard, which was essentially the Mig-21-93.

    A similar upgrade was planned for the Mig-23 and was known as the Mig-23-98 that came with an impressive load-out, but did not get much foreign support. However Angola does have an upgraded version called the Mig-23-98-2, which is probably somewhat similar to the aforementioned.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Mig23-11

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    Post  Isos Fri Dec 01, 2023 4:58 pm

    That mig-23 could have been a good interceptor and missile launcher. It had good speed and acceleration. For shooting r-77M, kh-31 and kh-35 with datalink it would be a perfect fighter.

    But bad dogfight capabilities and low number of weapon hardpoints is very bad disadvantage.

    Flying it was also very difficult and improved only in very last versions. Few years ago it killed a US pilot flying an old mig-23 in the US.

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    Post  Mir Fri Dec 01, 2023 5:08 pm

    Perfect timing Very Happy

    Anyway the best export version for a long time was the ML. Not bad but not nearly as good as the MLD variant. That little dog-tooth at the wing root made quite a difference in maneuverability. The Mig-23-98 upgrade was based on the MLD so yes it would have been quite decent.

    By far the worst variant was the Mig-23MS for export. It was supposed to replace the Mig-21 but worse than the Mig-21 in almost all aspects. Totally under powered and terrible avionics. The West got hold of this variant through Egypt and I think this resulted in the bad reputation of the Mig-23. The Israelis got hold of a Syrian Mig-23MLD through covert means if I remember correctly. This ended up in the US a couple of years later. A totally different machine than the MS.

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    Post  Mir Sat Dec 02, 2023 9:26 am

    The Mig-31E demonstrator caused quite a stir when they removed the nosecone to reveal the world's first fighter jet fitted with a phased array radar.
    By the time it was revealed during an international airshow in the 90's, the PESA/Mig-31 combo was already a decade old!

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Mig31e10

    The aircraft attracted a lot of foreign interest but unfortunately no firm orders for it ever materialized.

    A great picture of the colourful demonstrator low over a forested area. Unlike it's predecessor, the Mig-31 is quite at home at low level - even though it is a dedicated interceptor. This is mainly thanks to the LERX. The Mig-31 remains the fastest production combat aircraft in the world and still holds several world records.

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    Post  GarryB Sat Dec 02, 2023 9:49 am

    It is ironic that they ended up with a very decent fighter but most western countries underrate it because the previous aircraft were not great.

    The MiG-23MLD was a very decent aircraft and I always like the MiG-27M and MiG-27K.

    Of course a MiG-29SMT could have replaced both families in Russian service, but the MiG-23MLD could out accelerate most other aircraft and with a newer engine it would be eye watering... imagine the new engine for Su-57 in a MIG-23-24 (as opposed to a MiG-23-98).

    Regarding making a new version of the Su-25TM the original was seriously limited by the performance of Soviet and Russian thermal imagers, but I would say unification of sensors being used on the new Ka-52M and Mi-28NM would be useful for their coordination and use against ground targets and their ability to communicate with each other and troops on the ground to deliver much better performance.

    Edit: I would say the modern avionics might even allow the Su-25TM to be a two seater because I think a pilot and someone to find targets and coordinate with drones and commanders on the ground and helicopters would benefit with two crew...

    For a long time I was wondering if they would ever put the Havoc or even Hokum into service in decent numbers... I think adding both aircraft was a good decision because they are different enough to suit different roles.

    Would like to see them do to an Mi-38 what they did to the Mi-8 to create an Mi-14, because they could use a new anti sub land based helicopter...

    Will be interesting to see these new high speed helicopters they have been talking about for a while.

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    Post  GarryB Sat Dec 02, 2023 10:59 am


    The aircraft attracted a lot of foreign interest but unfortunately no firm orders for it ever materialized.

    They have developed new metals that can withstand much higher temperatures like a high temperature aluminium which would be lighter and perhaps easier to work with than steel or titanium, and of course their improvements in radar technology and computing should mean a weight loss programme could be very successful as well as an overall upgrade with an AESA radar of significant size and also a fly by wire system to reduce weight, and modern avionics and systems and equipment, as well as new materials and improved engines.

    Speed might improve a little but endurance and range might be massively increased as well as the performance of the nose mounted radar in terms of a range of difficult targets.

    The MiG-31M had two rows of three R-37 missiles for 6 belly mounted missiles plus potentially four more under wing weapons... the introduction of a new missile to replace the R-37 would be interesting and of course the potential for a new missile perhaps based on an S-400 or S-500 missile would be interesting even if it could only carry two on the inner wing pylons... imagine the flight performance of a ground launched missile with a flight range of 380km launched from 18km altitude and mach 3?

    Every time I look at that picture of the MiG-21-98 I like that cockpit canopy better and better...
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    Post  Mir Sun Dec 03, 2023 5:14 pm

    The Su-34 strike aircraft was offered in the export market as the Su-32MF and the Su-32FN in the late 90's. The MF apparently stood for "Multirole Fighter" and the FN for "Fighter Naval", with the FN able to operate in a wide spectrum of maritime roles - including Anti-Submarine Warfare!

    Up to 72 sonaboyus and a magnetic anomoly detector (MAD) in the stinger would have made it possible to hunt for submarines. In the anti-ship role the Su32 could carry two 3M80 Moskit Mach 3 missiles. Another anti-ship option was three Alpha missiles with a 300 km range. The Alpha missile was also a Mach 3 missile but was cancelled.

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su34-210

    The MF variant is basically what we know as the Su-34 strike fighter.

    The Su-34 has several unique features like the "platypus" styled nosecone, which helped to significantly reduced the aircraft's RCS, and the crew's access point behind the nosewheel - which is more akin to strategic bombers.

    The very spacious flightdeck (rather than cockpit) is also armoured with a 17mm titanium shell, the engine nacelles and the fuel tank in the fuselage is also armoured - unlike similar strike aircraft in it's class. Another unique feature is the rear looking radar in the large stinger' to warn the crew against unfriendly pursuers.

    With one inflight refueling the aircraft's already impressive range can be increased to around 7000 km. Maximum load is between 12000-14000 kg on 12 hardpoints.

    Despite it's size and the fact that no TVC's were fitted the Su-34 is far more maneuverable that it's closest competition and it is fully capable in the counter air role as well. A magnificent beast!

    Competing Aircraft Designs of the 90's and Beyond - Page 4 Su34-211

    It was reported that Algeria would be the first export customer of the Su-32, but it was only years later, during the Syrian campaign that Algeria apparently signed a contract for a much improved version - equal to the latest Russian variant - the Su34ME.

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