How Russia Rebrand Same Fighter Jets And Sale Soviet-era Su-27 As Su-30 and Su-35?

May 20, 1977, the first flight of the experimental Su-27. The project was based on many new and promising ideas, in particular the use of an integrated aerodynamic layout and the widespread use of titanium. Su-27 was the first domestic fighter equipped with an electric remote-control system. The aircraft is equipped with a new radar, optoelectronic aiming system and advanced weapons, including specially designed for him. The power plant for the Su-27 was two AL-31F engines developed at the Lyulka Design Bureau and possessing high specific indicators in terms of mass, thrust and economy. Since 1977, more than 1,600 Su-27 aircraft, which are in service with 17 countries, have been built in the USSR and Russia. A successful Su-27 airframe with a large development resource allowed him to become a kind of designer, on the basis of which many modifications were performed that performed various tasks.

Classics of the genre — Su-27P


December 29, 1983 issued a decree on the modernization of the Su-27. The updated Su-27 was supposed to maintain the range of tasks, but it was required to increase its overall effectiveness. Initially, the Su-27 modernization project received the expected name — Su-27M. In 1985, the design team of Sukhoi Design Bureau completed work on a draft version of the project. The airframe has undergone major changes: all-moving foreplane; the new nose of the larger fuselage is equipped with a removable fairing; the optical locating station’s sight is shifted to the right; increased brake flap; the fuselage tail beam is extended to install new equipment; new hatches for access to the internal compartments appeared on the airframe; fixed fuel receiver; reinforced landing gear, etc. …

Su-27M/ T-10M-10

The refinement of the fuselage nose was associated with the need to install a phased antenna array radar station (PAR), characterized by large dimensions. The station could find up to 24 targets at the same time and accompany 8 of them …

In 1987, the first experimental Su-27M was assembled. The basis was the serial Su-27. After a number of necessary improvements, the experimental Su-27 got its own name — T-10M-1. June 28, 1988 the first flight of the T-10M-1. Production of experimental Su-27M aircraft continued until 1995, 12 aircraft were built. The Su-27M project provided for a serious revision of the original design, because in September 1992 the aircraft was given the designation “Su-35” …

By the mid-90s, the fighter was out of date. The airframe and the power plant suit everyone, do not like electronics and weapons. The new version of the project provided for the use of the N011 BARS PAR — a larger number of tracked and followed targets, an increased range of the station, a new combat mode, combining work on air and ground targets. New equipment was installed on the T-10M-11 and T-10M-12 aircraft …

Since the end of the 80s, a new engine has been developed. The project proposed to apply thrust-vector control due to a nozzle of a variable configuration. The only aircraft with AL-31FP engines were the T-10M-11, which flew on April 2, 1996. For marketing reasons, the plane was renamed the “Su-37” …

Su-27M/ T-10M-11/ pseudo “Su-37”

In 2000, a prototype T-10BM aircraft took off for the first time. The project combined the main achievements of the “Su-35/ Su-37” fighters, etc. As a result, an aircraft appeared that was able to solve various problems. It was planned to supply aircraft for export. It didn’t work out … The entire serial production of the Su-27M was limited to three planes from 1995–96. The aircraft were not exported … In 2003, the only three production Su-27Ms, as well as the T-10M-3 and T-10M-12 prototypes, were transferred to the Russian Knights aerobatic team. Further development of the project was not planned …



In 1990, the Su-27 was included in the list of USSR military equipment permitted for delivery abroad. In 1996, the governments of the Russian Federation and China signed an agreement on the assembly of 200 fighters in China from Russian components. The first samples of the Chinese assembly of the J-11 took to the skies in 1998. The Russian side supplied 105 sets of Su-27 for assembly. China refused further supplies, choosing the path of independent development of the base model. The modified J-11 became one of the main front-line fighters of the Chinese Air Force …

Su-30 and its derivatives

Su-30 is the basic model of a two-seat multipurpose fighter-bomber, created on the basis of the training and combat fighter Su-27UB. The first flight of the Su-30 took place in 1988, and in the 90s a commercial version was created on its basis.

Original Su-30 with fixed fuel receiver

Su-30K (commercial) is a commercial version of a two-seat interceptor fighter with in-flight refueling and satellite navigation systems (GPS, GLONASS). The first flight is 1993. Engines — AL-31F. Part of the equipment is located in containers on the external stations: laser ranging and target designation systems for the use of guided weapons with laser seekers and thermal imaging systems for detecting targets in the infrared range, which allows working at night and in difficult weather conditions. The aircraft is equipped with ejection seats K-36DM. Su-30K can additionally use high-precision air-to-surface guided weapons with a launch range of up to 250 km for sea and ground targets …

Su-30MK (modernized, commercial) is a two-seat attack aircraft intended for export deliveries. The first flight is 1993. The range of weapons has expanded. The maximum take-off weight was increased to 38.8 tons, the combat load increased — to 8 tons, the assigned airframe “life” increased to 3000 hours, the engine — to 1500 hours. Practical ceiling — 17.5 km, flight range — 3000 km, speed — 2 Mach …

Su-30MKI (modernized, commercial, Indian) — version of Su-30MK for India. The first flight of the prototype is 1997. A multi-functional two-seat fighter with foreplane and engines with a thrust vector AL-31FP, with avionics produced in the framework of international cooperation between Russia and other countries, with the new N011M radar with passive phased array antenna (PFAR) and an expanded armament of air-to-air and air-to-surface …


Su-30KN (commercial, new) — a two-seat fighter based on the Su-30K with an upgraded composition of avionics and radar with headlight (additional autonomous radar channel). The first flight is 1999. A satellite navigation receiver with GLONASS and NAVSTAR support has been installed. A computer has been added to the N001 PAR for new operating modes — mapping of the earth’s surface and selection of moving targets. In the weapon control system (WCS), a computer has been added to interface the WCS with new guided missiles air-to-air and air-to-surface classes …

Su-30MKK (modernized, commercial, Chinese) — version of Su-30MK for China. Two-seat fighter with advanced capabilities for work on ground targets, N001VE PAR. Engines — AL-31F. The first flight of 1999. After examining the aircraft and using the J-11B modification as the base, the Chinese created a modern all-weather strike fighter J-16. The aircraft has been manufactured since 2012 and, according to available data, it can belong to 4++ generation fighters …

Su-30MKA (modernized, commercial, Algerian) — version of Su-30MK for Algeria. The first flight is 2007. This version comes with N011M PAR radar.


Su-30MKM (modernized, commercial, Malaysian) — version of the Su-30MK for Malaysia. Based on the version of the Su-30MKI. The Malaysian version comes with the same radar as the Algerian N011M PAR.

Su-30MKV (modernized, commercial, Vietnamese) — version for Vietnam.

Su-30MK2 (modernized, commercial, version 2) is an improved version of the Su-30MK. The first flight — 2002, engines — AL-31F. N001 PAR radar.

Su-30MKV — version of the Su-30MK2 for Venezuela.

Su-30M2 — version of the Su-30MK2, designed for the Russian Air Force. In 2010, factory flight tests were completed.


Su-30SM — (serial upgraded) Su-30MKI, designed for the Russian Air Force. First flight September 21, 2012. In 2016, the operation of aircraft began aviation aerobatics team, Russian Knights.

Su-33 — The ship-based version of the Su-27 was created by order of the Navy to protect the fleet from an air attack. The aircraft was adopted in 1998. For hangar storage on an aircraft carrier, the Su-33 is equipped with a folding system for wings and a stabilizer. In addition, it is distinguished from the base model by the reinforced landing gear and the presence of an arrester hook, which when landing on the deck clings to the cable of the arrestment and stops the aircraft. In addition to performing combat missions, the Su-33 can be used as a fuel tanker.


Su-34 — The Su-34 fighter-bomber can carry the entire range of domestic aviation weapons, while attacking targets in all weather conditions. The aircraft belongs to the 4++ generation and can perform combat missions in operational and tactical depths without the support of cover fighters. A distinctive feature of the aircraft — the layout of the cockpit — the pilot is sitting next to, and not one after another. In the armored cockpit of the Su-34 you can get up to its full height, there is a berth, a dry closet and a kitchenette. The aircraft was developed since 1986 as a replacement for the Su-24 front-line bomber. Serially produced since 2005, adopted in 2014 …


Su-35 — In 2005, it was decided to resume the Su-27M project. It was supposed to use its modified version — T-10BM. A deep modernization of the Su-27 airframe was foreseen with the use of on-board equipment designed for the Su-27M or created on the basis of its equipment. The T-10BM differed from the Su-27M in the absence of a foreplane and a brake flap. The radar with a passive phased antenna array N035 IRBIS (target detection — 300 km, tracking 30 targets at the same time), supplemented by an optical-electronic station, became the basis of the new aiming and navigation complex. The airborne electronic reconnaissance and electronic warfare facilities were updated. Two AL-41F1S turbofan engines are placed in the rear of the fuselage. A feature of the engines is a controlled nozzle, with the help of which an all-aspect control of the thrust vector is realized. Thanks to new engines, the aircraft can perform long flights at transonic speeds without using afterburner. The fighter has no restrictions on angles of attack and has super maneuverability with high controllability. In 2007, the first prototype of a new aircraft was built. The first flight took place on February 19, 2008. The T-10BM series went by the name of the Su-35S. The 2009 contract provided for the construction of 48 new aircraft. All aircraft of this series were handed over to the customer by the end of 2015. In December 2015, a second agreement for 50 fighters appeared. Shortly before the second Russian contract, the first export agreement appeared. The first foreign buyer of the Su-35S was China, who wished to receive 24 aircraft. In February 2018, Indonesia ordered 11 Su-35 and later canceled all order to avoid CAATSA sanctions. In 2019, Egypt ordered 20 Su-35 aircraft from Rosoboronexport.


Su-37 Such an aircraft does not exist but the development of a tactical strike aircraft (attacker) was carried out. It was in the early 90’s Sukhoi started the development of Su-37 but never finish the project due to the financial crisis.

Su-37 Strike aircraft project

The Flanker family is easily the best Russia has ever produced but for the most part history of Sukhoi and the fall of the Soviet Union leads to a successful technology transfer attempt to China and India.

Today, Russia’s military bonanza is over, and China’s is just beginning.

After decades of importing and reverse-engineering Russian arms, China has reached a tipping point: It now can produce many of its own advanced weapons—including high-tech fighter jets like the Su-27—and is on the verge of building an aircraft carrier.

Not only have Chinese engineers cloned the prized Su-27’s avionics and radar but they are fitting it with the last piece in the technological puzzle, a Chinese jet engine.

In the past two years, Beijing hasn’t placed a major order from Moscow.

Now, China is starting to export much of this weaponry, undercutting Russia in the developing world, and potentially altering the military balance in several of the world’s flashpoint. China plans to export J-11B to Pakistan as a cut price reverse engineered Su-27 aircraft.

To Summarize, regardless of which Su-27 aircraft you take there few upgrades were made to these aircrafts such as Russian GLONASS, NAVSTAR, Optical Station, vector thrust nozzle of both engines and phase array radar. You can call it Su-30SME or Su-35, I will it a “same wine but different bottle”.

© 2021, GDC. © GDC and Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.