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Air Force accepting new Su-27SMs

hjt36-al55iIn mid-February 2011, the Russian Air Force took delivery of the first four out of an order of 12 Sukhoi Su-27SM multirole single-seat fighters, which delivery had been stipulated by the deal clinched by the Sukhoi company and the Russian Defence Ministry during the MAKS 2009 air show in August 2009. The warplanes completed a long flight from Komsomolsk-on-Amur to the air base in Krymsk, Krasnodar Region, which had taken delivery of a pair of two Su-30M2 twin-seat multirole fighters last year. Unlike the Su-27SMs delivered to RusAF in 2003 through 2009 and derived from in-service Su-27 fighters by KnAAPO by means of upgrade, the newly delivered aircraft are brand-new and just out of the assembly shop..

Probably, the new Su-27SMs were made using the backlog of Su-27SK airframes that KnAAPO retained from the suspended licence-production contract with China. The aircraft are powered by advanced Salut AL-31F-M1 (AL-31F Series 42) turbofans with thrust enhanced up to 13,500 kgf, extended service life as well as upgraded avionics and weapons suites that are even more sophisticated than those fitting the upgraded Su-27SMs that have been supplied until recently.

Last autumn, Tikhomirov-NIIP Director General Yuri Bely told Take-off in an interview: “Late September saw the first launch of a new medium-range air-to-air missile by a Su-27SM3 prototype, with the missile hitting its target. To ensure the use of the missile at an extended range, the antenna, emitter and radar updates datalink of the fighter’s radar had been upgraded. The Su-27SM3 kicked off its official test programme”. In all probability, the four Su-27SMs delivered in February were made in this particular version. At the same time with improving the fire control radar and beefing the weapons suite with upgraded medium-range missiles, the cockpit management system was refined, with the cockpit goes ‘all-glass’.

The first four Su-27SM3s were ferried from KnAAPO’s factory airfield to the south of Russia by a group of pilots with the Lipetsk-based Air Force State Aviation Personnel Training and Operational Evaluation Centre, who were led by Lt.-Col. Yuri Spryadyshev, honoured military pilot and sniper pilot. The group took off from Komsomolsk-on-Amur on 15 February and made their first stopover at Domna Air Force Base vic. Chita, where the Defence Ministry was giving a press tour to the Russian media. Their further itinerary included Novosibirsk and Perm to be completed in Krymsk successfully. With three stopovers, the four new fighters covered upwards of 7,000 km from the Russian Far East to the Krasnodar Region in the country’s south.

Meanwhile, KnAAPO is gearing up for delivery of the remaining eight aircraft under the contract. They may well enter inventory of the Air Force this year.




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