Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker


The Sukhoi Su-27 (NATO designation Flanker) is the front-line fighter aircraft designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau. It is a twin-engined aircraft with a blended wing and fuselage, and twin tail fins. The aircraft were marketed at international air shows, putting up superb aerobatic displays, of exceptional controllability at high angles of attack. Deliveries of the Su-27 fighters to the Soviet Air Force and Air Defence Forces started in 1985. Most of the series produced aircraft were T-10S design, hence the designation of Su-27S.

The first ‘Flanker-A’ prototypes flew on 20 May 1977. By the early 1980s, Sukhois T10-1 prototype was the subject of much scrutiny by Western intelligence agencies, who dubbed it Flanker-A. As the prototype evolved into the Su-27 or Flanker-B production model, word of its potential as a fighter spread as well. Flanker-B Su-27S, which was the original version to enter service, entered service in 1984. The initial production single-seater was referred to as the Su-27S, allowing the designation Su-27 to refer to any or all variants in the family of aircraft

The aircraft has a near-zero static stability and thus require a fly-by-wire system. The SDU-10 pitch-only fly-by-wire system controls the pitch of the aircraft to ensure stability and controllability for the pilot, increase aerodynamic performance, limit overload and angle of attack when needed and decrease the airframe aerodynamic load.

The radar a powerful pulse-Doppler radar, and up to ten air-to-air missiles giving it a potent look-down shoot-down capability. The Flanker also features a rearward-facing radar at the end of a long boom placed between the engines allowing the Su-27 to search for targets behind the aircraft.

China also bought a license for the production of its own Su-27 fighters. Su-27SKs have since 1998 been produced as the F/J-11 in China under licence in accordance with intergovernmental agreement. The first licensed-production plane, assembled in the town of Shenyang, was flight tested on 16th December 1998.


Developing nation: Soviet Union/Russia.
Sukhoi Design Bureau.
Production line:
IAPO Irkutsk Aviation Production Association, KNAAPO Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Production Association, NAPO Novosibirsk Aviation Production Association.
Number built: 650+
Type aircraft: twin-engine fourth-generation Air Defence Fighter.
First flight: May 20 1977.
First delivery: 1984.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 or 2
  • Length: 21.9 m (72 ft)
  • Wingspan: 14.7 m (48 ft 3 in)
  • Height: 5.92 m (19 ft 6 in)
  • Wing area: 62 sq m (667 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 16,380 kg (36,100 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 23,430 kg (51,650 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 30,450 kg (67,100 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Saturn/Lyulka AL-31F turbofans, 122.8 kN (27,600 lbf) each


  • Maximum speed: Mach 2.35 (2,500 km/h, 1,550 mph) at altitude
  • Range: 3,530 km (2,070 mi) at altitude; (1,340 km / 800 mi at sea level)
  • Service ceiling: 18,500 m (62,523 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 300 m/s (64,000 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 371 kg/sq m (76 lb/sq ft)
  • Thrust/weight: 1.09


  • 1 x 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon with 275 rounds
  • 8,000 kg (17,600 lb) on 10 external pylons
  • Up to 6x medium-range AA missiles R-27, 2x short-range heat-seeking AA missiles R-73
    • Upgraded Su-27SM is capable of using R-77 instead of R-27

Su-27S armament

  • 30 mm GSH-30 Cannon, 150 rounds
  • 6  R-27R, R-27ER, R-27T, R-27ET
  • 4 x R-73E
  • FAB-250
  • FAB-500
  • B-8
  • B-13
  • S-24
  • S-25
T-10 ‘Flanker-A’ Original prototype, sred from excessive drag, weak structure, excessive weight, and flutter; four built
T-10S Redesigned prototype
P-42 Third Su-27S prototype (T10S-3) modified to set several climb and altitude records
T10-20R Special conversion testbed used for long-range supersonic flight
Su-27 ‘Flanker-A’ Production model prototype and development aircraft; 15 built
Su-27S ‘Flanker-B’ First production model with refined aerodynamics and an aft radar extension, single-seat model designed for dual-role air defense and ground attack missions
Su-27SK Export version of the Su-27S
Su-27SKM Updated variant of the Su-27S for export
Su-27SM Upgrade program for the Su-27S
Su-27P ‘Flanker-B’ Identical to the Su-27S but designed purely as an air defense interceptor and equipped with an in-flight refueling probe
Su-27UB ‘Flanker-C’ Two-seat combat-capable trainer with an improved radar in a longer nose
Su-27PU ‘Flanker-C’ Prototype of the Su-30 fighter bomber
Su-27K ‘Flanker-D’ Prototype of the Su-33 navalized fighter, also referred to as the T-10K
Su-27KU or Su-27IB Prototype of the Su-34 bomber
Su-27M ‘Flanker-E’ Prototype of the Su-35 fighter
J-11 Chinese designation for the Su-27, perhaps up to 300 to be license built in China
J-11B Improved version of the Su-27SK developed by China that features major upgrades including a new radar and an infrared search and track system while also incorporating Chinese weapons, reports suggest further orders for the Su-27SK (J-11) built in Russia are to be cancelled in favor of constructing the J-11B locally in China



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