58 - Sukhoi Su-35 Super-Flanker

Killer in the Sky:

Russia's Deadly Su-35 Super-Flanker

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model and diorama by Bjørn Jacobsen

 

The Sukhoi Su-35S Super-Flanker is the most potent fighter currently in operation with the Russian Air Force,

Should US pilots be shaking in their cockpits?

 

The powerful twin-engine fighter is very fast and carries an enormous payload.

 

That, combined with its advanced avionics, makes

the Su-35 an extremely dangerous foe to any

U.S. fighter, with maybe the exception of the

stealthy Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.

 

The Su-35 could even pose a serious challenge

for the stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The F-35 was built primarily as a strike fighter and

does not have the sheer speed or altitude capability

of the Su-35 or F-22

 

The USAF admits that the Su's ability to go high

and fast is a big concern.

 

As an air-superiority fighter, its major advantages are its combination of high altitude capability and blistering speed—which allow the fighter to impart the maximum possible amount of launch energy to its arsenal of long-range air-to-air missiles.

 

The Su-35 would be launching its weapons from

high supersonic speeds around Mach 1.5 at

altitudes greater than 45,000 ft.; the F-35 would

primarily be operating in the 30,000-ft range at

speeds around Mach 0.9.

 

The Su-35 builds on the already potent Flanker

airframe, which in many respects already

exceeded the aerodynamic performance of the

Boeing F-15 Eagle.

 

The Su-35 adds a lighter airframe, three-

dimensional thrust vectoring, advanced avionics

and a powerful jamming capability.

 

The addition of an electronic attack capability complicates matters for Western fighters because the Su-35’s advanced digital radio frequency memory jammers can seriously degrade the performance of friendly radars.

 

t also effectively blinds the on-board radars found on

American-made air-to-air missiles like the

AIM-120 AMRAAM.

 

Modernised versions of older jets would also be in

serious trouble against the new Flanker variant.

 

But even the addition of AESA radars does not really

solve the problem.

The U.S. haven't been pursuing appropriate methods

to counter EA for years, so, while the newest

US fighters are stealthy, they will have a hard time

working their way through the Russian Electronic

Attack to target the Su-35s – and the US missiles

will have a hard time killing them

 

The Su-35 also carries a potent infrared search and track capability that could pose a problem for Western fighters.

 

Another of the Su-35’s major advantages is that it carries an enormous payload of air-to-air missiles.

To carry a ton of air-to-air ordnance into a fight is a frightening thought.

 

Overall, it would be fair to assess the Su-35 as an extremely capable fighter—perhaps the best Russia or the Soviet Union has ever developed.

The real concern for the American pilots is if the Russian starts making a lot of these machines.

 

(Most of the introduction text is taken from http://nationalinterest.org/)

Building the Super-Flanker

The kit I used, the 1/48 from Mini Hobby Model is undoubted the worst kit I have had in decades!

 

If I could, I would just have thrown it away, but since it was a gift, I had to make the best out of it and try to prove that even a horrible kit could be saved by putting and sanding.

 

I am very disappointed that a beauty of a plane like the Sukhoi -35 is totally ruined by a bad kit.

 

The kit was from Mini Hobby Models, however, was an “interesting” experience: It was not only that nothing fits together, but the model might actually be all wrong,

 

The Su-family have several different versions of the Su35/37 which all are offspring of the Su-27. Most of the Su-35s probably had no canards except for a few prototypes.

These turned out to be unnecessary (says some sources) and they were removed.

 

Due to the secrecy of the Russian Airforce, it’s hard to say if the canards should be on this model or not. But I think the canards give the fighter a nice look, so I let them stay on.

 

As said before, nothing fits together, the manual was a disaster and it took a ton of filler in every joint to get it, not correct, but a little better.

 

It was impossible to close the wheel doors; they were far too small and misshaped.

 

The payload (missiles) was probably moulded by a bricklayer, as was the nose cone.

 

But in the end, after all the corrections, it looked fine, at least until you look real closely – and don’t know too much about the Sukhoi family.

 

My advice is clear: Stay away from this kit!

 

One thing I like with the Russian fighters is the large variation of camouflage. I especially liked the three coloured (White/Grey, Dark Grey and Black/Blue) splinter camouflage, I just HAD to try that and see how it looked.

 

I wanted pictures of the SU-35 on the ground and in the air and with/without the payload.

That resulted in the following building sequences:

 

1.Plane with retracted wheels without payload

2.Plane with retracted wheels with payload

3.Plane with extended wheels and payload

4.Plane with extended wheels without payload.

 

It was quite a challenge to open the wheel doors and install the under carriages, but in the end, it turned out almost fine. At least the fighter was standing on the tarmac.

 

I also wanted the afterburner to show in the nozzles and used one 12V halogen lamp in each engine. Together with a little yellow cellophane, it might look like the afterburners.

 

The halogen lamp is not ideal for this because it produces too much heat (even al 12V). But I should only use it when taking pictures and do not need to have them turned on for a long time.

If you want to do something similar, I recommend that you use a 3V LED lamp which emits far less heat.

 

I also found some old pictures of the Su-30 which I built some years ago and corporate this into a couple of the new Su-35 pictures – they are after all in the same family.

Try not to look for all the faults, here are the results:

And last, but not least, the heavily armed Su-35

perform the Cobra Manoeuvre:

I hope you enjoyed this website!

Thank you for visiting!

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments

(bjorn@dioramas-and-models.com)

Bjørn Jacobsen

December 2016