Tag Archives: KnAAPO

Su-35 Deliveries

Su-35

Su-35

RBK-TV ran a short segment on 3 October indicating that OAK, Sukhoy, and KnAAZ (aka KnAAPO) will deliver (or will have delivered) 22 Su-35 aircraft to the Air Forces by the end of 2014.

Twelve Su-35 were reportedly delivered in 2013, so 22 plus delivery of 14 more in 2015 would fulfill Sukhoy’s 2009 contract for 48.  There’s been talk all along about a follow-on contract.

The report briefly covered the aircraft’s capabilities and noted that China would be the primary foreign customer for it.  However, according to RBK, the export variant will not carry the same avionics as the domestic version.

The video features OAK President Mikhail Pogosyan saying that the corporation’s military production is fully independent of foreign suppliers (and therefore unaffected by Western sanctions).

The broadcast ends noting that more than 12 billion rubles have been invested in Sukhoy’s modernization over five years.  More than 3 billion from targeted state programs have gone into financing Su-35 development.

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PAK FA Update

PAK FA

Sukhoy announced that its third PAK FA prototype conducted its first test flight today.  Operating from KnAAPO’s factory runway, the aircraft flew for more than an hour.

To run back a few milestones, the first PAK FA flew on January 29, 2010.  A second prototype joined it in March of this year.  PAK FA’s first public flight was August 17 at MAKS-2011.  And Sukhoy says the PAK FA has completed more than 100 test flights to date.  The hundredth flight apparently occurred early this month or in late October.

On November 11, ARMS-TASS reported that the third prototype will test the onboard phased array radar (AFAR)  system designed by the Tikhomirov NII of Instrument-building (NIIP).  Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye published the same news, citing a Sukhoy spokesman.

Air Forces Prospects

With MAKS-2011 underway, this is something of a moving target.  Before getting to the main topic, a little news from Zhukovskiy . . . some of today’s headlines. 

OAK President Mikhail Pogosyan told the press two more T-50 prototypes will join the development and testing program this year.  He expects more than 100 military transport aircraft to be bought under GPV 2011-2020.  Il-112, Il-476, and Il-76MD will come first, then ten An-124 in 2014-2015, and later a larger number of An-70s.  Pogosyan said, starting from 2011, OAK will deliver more than 20 combat aircraft each year.

VVS CINC, General-Colonel Zelin told the media he foresees five squadrons of Su-34 (possibly as many as 120 aircraft).  The VVS will have six by the end of 2011 and will get 12 next year under the current contract for 32 aircraft.

For Air Forces Day, RIA Novosti had military commentator Konstantin Bogdanov describe how he sees things developing for this armed service.  How he puts the Air Forces’ future picture together is worth a look.

Bogdanov says he sees, for the first time since the Soviet collapse, movement, a turnaround in procurement financing, and real deliveries of aircraft in 2011. 

Interestingly, he begins with the Su-35S.  Forty-eight of these “transitional” 4++ generation fighters will be procured, but there could be more if there is any delay in the 5th generation T-50.  Bogdanov suggests, even without a  delay, the pragmatic Defense Ministry leadership could decide to blend 4th and 5th generation technology and equipment in one aircraft.

Bogdanov maintains one Su-34 flew missions in the 5-day war with Georgia [has anyone seen this elsewhere?], then got its serial production go-ahead, and contract for 32 aircraft in fall 2008.  Modernizing the aged Su-24 is a backup plan for the Su-34.  Bogdanov claims VVS CINC Zelin has hinted that ALCM-armed Su-34s could go to LRA.

Some old Su-27s have been updated to Su-27SM, and even a few new Su-27SM3 — unsold to China — have been obtained.

RSK MiG’s future, according to Bogdanov, looks less certain.  Russia had to buy the defective Algerian MiG-29SMTs.  It’s unclear if the Defense Ministry will have any requirement for the MiG-35.  And this leaves MiG with the possibility of providing MiG-29Ks to replace the Navy’s Su-33 fighters on the Kuznetsov’s deck.

Bogdanov then mentions how Irkut has parleyed its export success into more domestic sales.  He says the firm has redeveloped its Indian Su-30MKI into the Su-30SM, and it may sell as many as 40 to the Defense Ministry.  Twelve might go to replace Naval Aviation’s Su-24s at Gvardeyskoye in the Black Sea Fleet [apparently these aircraft weren’t swept up by the VVS earlier this year].  Similarly, says Bogdanov, KnAAPO last fall sold the VVS four Su-30M2s, domestic versions of its Su-30MK2 export.

Turning to rotary-wing aircraft, Bogdanov sees stable order books for Russian helicopter makers.  The order books are balanced in terms of military and civilian, and internal and external buyers, and all sales sectors are growing.

He says by 2010 the military’s contract for Mi-28N helicopters reached 100 units and serial production of its main competitor, the Ka-52, continued.  Mi-8s have been bought by the dozens.  And the hangars and flight decks of Mistral helicopter carriers will have to be filled in the future.

Bogdanov concludes more than 100 helicopters of all types may be procured before the end of 2011.  He repeats the familiar goal of 1,000 new helicopters by 2020, and says the near-term future for this sector looks good.

Bogdanov sees more clouds in military transport development and production.  Il-476 production at Ulyanovsk still needs to stand up, and Zelin’s already announced that a new A-100 AWACS will be based on it.  Restarting An-124 production and buying the An-70 from Ukraine are possibilities with details to be worked out.

Focused on platforms, Bogdanov gives short shrift to organizational and human aspects of VVS development.  He notes the Air Forces are completing the change from mission-oriented air armies and divisions to territorial composite or mixed formations (air bases), and he briefly mentions scandals over the handling of “order 400” premium pay.  But he concludes:

“In coming years we’ll see more than a few painful symptoms in the VVS, both strictly aviation-related and internal, and those connected to the general background of difficult transformations of the country’s armed forces.  Let there be pains, but let them be growing pains.”

Su-35S to Start State Testing

In their excitement about new armaments, many observers have a hard time keeping book on the latest weapons, forcing yours truly to follow a few important systems like the Su-35S.  Some even say the Su-35S is already in the inventory, but a close look at press reporting shows otherwise.

The media reported the first series production Su-35S flew at KnAAPO in Komsomolsk-na-Amure yesterday.  After these factory trials, this aircraft will be delivered to the Defense Ministry.

Sukhoy has successfully completed preliminary testing on the Su-35S prototype.  Preliminary testing confirmed that its on-board systems meet technical requirements, checked its reliability and controllability, its engines, and navigation system.

According to ITAR-TASS, a Sukhoy spokesman said:

“The Su-35S has been presented for state joint testing [ГСИ or GSI].  The first step in the framework of the fighter’s state joint testing will be receipt of the preliminary finding of the customer – Russia’s Air Forces on the aircraft’s correspondence to main requirements with the aim of providing it to Air Forces’ operational units.”

Now recall that late last August Sukhoy said the Su-35S was completing preliminary testing and would start state testing in the fall.  Fall has become the following spring, and Sukhoy announces again that the Su-35S is ready to start GSI.

The Russians advertise the Su-35S as a 4++ generation fighter, using fifth generation technologies to give it an advantage over similar aircraft.

The Defense Ministry gave Sukhoy a contract to deliver 48 Su-35S by 2015, but Voyenno-promyshlennyy kuryer, among others, says the military department will probably buy 48 more in 2015-2020.  VPK goes further:

“According to some assessments, the Russian Air Forces need 150-200 Su-35S.  The Defense Ministry now intends to buy 60 fifth generation T-50 fighters in all.”

So VPK suggests some think the Su-35S should be a primary fighter rather than just a gap filler for PAK FA.

State Tests of Su-35 Pending

Su-35

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.

Fifth Generation Fighter Maiden Flight Today