Krasnaya zvezda on 13 August ran a brief item updating Su-35 developments.
Sukhoy is completing its preliminary testing of the Su-35 multirole fighter, and plans to present it for state testing this fall. Sukhoy chief designer Igor Demin [Dyomin or Дёмин] told Interfaks-AVN to expect this in September or October. He said there are two Su-35 prototypes currently in flight testing, and this number will increase to 6 for state testing. The third Su-35 will reportedly fly at some point in the fourth quarter of this year.
Demin says the Su-35 is receiving lots of testing because it has many new systems and components. Preliminary testing substantiated its advertised characteristics — low and high altitude maximum speeds of 1,400 and 2,500 kph respectively, and a ceiling of 19,000 meters.
Sukhoy has a mid-2009 state order for 48 Su-35 for delivery by 2015, and serial production of the fighter has been arranged at Sukhoy’s KnAAPO. The first aircraft might be delivered in late 2010, and serial production will start next year. Export deliveries are planned for 2012, according to this report.
The Su-35’s designers say this fighter will allow for a partial rearmament of the Air Forces, and facilitate assimilation of ‘new generation equipment.’ They describe the Su-35 as a deeply modernized, highly-maneuverable ‘4++’ generation aircraft, which already uses some 5th generation technologies.
According to this article, the Su-35 sports digital avionics and instrumentation, a new phased array radar capable of long-range target detection and tracking and engaging more targets simultaneously, and new engines with greater thrust and variable thrust vectoring. Its radar signature has been reduced several times over 4th generation aircraft by using an electroconductive coverings for cabin lighting, radar-absorbent materials, and a reduced number of antennas.
The Su-35 is reportedly designed for a service life of 6,000 flying hours, and its controllable-nozzle engines 4,000 hours.
According to ITAR-TASS, Sukhoy reported in July that Air Forces pilots were beginning to prepare to fly the Su-35S [supposedly the nomenclature for the domestic version] in state trials.
Infomercials aside, the Su-35 is intended to be a gap-filler for PAK FA, but no one can say how long the gap will be. Long in development and repeated modernizations, it will likely be a solid aircraft, evolved as it is from pretty good stock. There’s foreign interest, but, of course, no firm purchases yet.