Tag Archives: Sukhoi Su-27

Air-to-Air Images of Mig-29N Fulcrum and Su-30 Flanker jets….taken from U.S. Super Hornet

Mig-29N and Su-30 flying in formation with F/A-18E during PASSEX exercise in Malaysia.

Cope Taufan 14, a biennial Large Employment Exercise which took place from Jun. 9 to 20 in Malaysia, was attended by U.S. F-15s from 104th Fighter Wing, from Barnes ANGB (Air National Guard Base), Massachusetts, F-22 Raptor stealth fighters from the 154th Wing, Joint Base Peal Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, as well as several other aircraft belonging to the U.S. Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force, including RMAF MIG-29N Fulcrum, Su-30, BAE Hawk, and F/A-18D Hornets.

A new maritime exercise is currently taking place in the same region, involving U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and Royal Malaysian Air Force and Navy: PASSEX.

Here are a couple of cool and rare images taken during Passex 2014 from inside a U.S. Navy Super Hornet while flying a mixed formation with the RMAF Russian aircraft.

Mig-29N RMAF from F18 2

Image credit: U.S. Navy

 

Awesome photo of British Typhoon intercepting fully armed Russian Su-27 over the Baltics

What a close encounter: Russian Su-27 and British Typhoon.

On Jun. 17, Royal Air Force Typhoons were scrambled to intercept multiple Russian aircraft as part of NATO’s Baltics Air Policing mission.

According to the information released by the RAF, the Typhoon aircraft, from 3 (Fighter) Squadron, were launched !after four separate groups of aircraft were detected by NATO air defences in international airspace near to the Baltic States.”

The “zombies” (how unidentified aircraft are dubbed in fighter pilots jargon), turned out to be a Tupolev Tu-22M “Backfire” bomber, four Sukhoi Su-27 ‘Flanker’ fighters, one Beriev A50 ‘Mainstay’ early warning aircraft and an Antonov An-26 ‘Curl’ transport aircraft “who appeared to be carrying out a variety of routine training,” even though the Flankers appear to be armed to the teeth, with 4x R-27 medium range and 2x R-73 short range air-to-air missiles

As usual, the Russian aircraft were shadowed and escorted on their way.

Su-27 RAF Typhoon

Image credit: SAC Dan Herrick / RAF /Crown Copyright

 

Can the Sukhoi Su-30 have the edge over U.S. fighters in aerial combat?

Su-30s would beat F-15s every time. But…..

We recently explained how, 10 years ago, Exercise Cope India put the Indian Air Force Su-30 against U.S. Air Force F-15C jets with results that are still open to debate: since the drills took place during F-22 budget reviews, some analysts affirm the Air Force intentionally accepted the challenging ROE (Rules Of Engagement) to gain more Raptors. Others claim this version of the story was invented to try to save face after the Indians achieved an impressive 9:1 kill ratio.

Even if we might never know the truth, it’s undeniable that, at least on paper, the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker has been one of the best Russian combat planes.

The Su-27 belongs to the same class of the U.S. F-14 and F-15, but unlike the American fighters it can fly at an angle of attack of 30 degrees and can also perform the “Pugachev Cobra”.

In a Cobra, the plane suddenly raises the nose to the veritical position (or beyond) before dropping it back to the normal flight, maintaining more or less the same altitude through the entire maneuver.

The Su-27 and its “Cobra” have been the highlight of many air shows from the end of the 1980s to the middle of the 1990s. But, since then, the Flanker maneuverability has been furtherly enhanced.

The improved multirole Su-30MK is a Flanker variant fitted with both canard forewings and thrust-vectoring nozzles which have improved its agility.

But how can this kind of maneuvers be used in combat?

A clear idea comes from an authoritative source: Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine.

In “Su-30MK Beats F-15C ‘Every Time’” published in 2002 on AW&ST, David A. Fulghum and Douglas Barrie reported that the Su-30 used its maneuverability to beat the F-15 in several engagements conducted in a complex of 360-deg. simulation domes at Boeing’s St. Louis facilities.

According to the article (that is often referenced by Indian media outlets to highlight the presumed Su-30 superiority on the American fighter jets) an anonymous USAF officer explained that in the case of a missed BVR missile (like the AA-12 Adder) shot by the Flanker, the Su-30 could turn into the clutter notch of the F-15′s radar, where the Eagle’s Doppler was ineffective.

As the AW&ST story explained in detail, this maneuver could be accomplished making a descending, right-angle turn to drop below the approaching F-15 while reducing the Su-30′s relative forward speed close to zero: even if this is a very old air combat tactic, the USAF officer said that the Sukhoi could perform effectively this maneuver thanks to its ability to reduce rapidly its speed and then quickly regain it.

If the Flanker driver performed correctly the maneuver, the Su-30 was invisible to the F-15’s radar until the Eagle was inside the AA-11 Archer IR missile range, since the F-15’s Doppler radar relied on movements of its targets.

As pointed out by the USAF officer, this tactic “works in the simulator every time,” however, only few countries have pilots with the required skills to fly those scenarios.

This happened about 10 years ago.

In the meanwhile, American pilots have received their F-22 Raptor stealth planes (facing also some serious problems).

But some unique features, such as the power of its engines and its superb aerodynamics, make the Flanker, in the right hands and in the proper scenario, a great dogfighter and a very tough enemy for every western jet WVR (Within Visual Range).

Moreover the Su-30 could carry the short range IR missile AA-11 Archer which in the ‘90s was the best short-range AAM in the world since it could be linked to the pilot’s helmet fire control system and was capable to be fired at targets until 45 degrees off the axis of the aircraft: both these capabilities were not possessed by the AIM-9M, the main western short range missile at the time (later replaced by the AIM-9X Sidewinder).

Image credit: Wiki

 

U.S. RC-135U spyplane and Russian Su-27 in one of the most dangerous aerial encounters since the Cold War.

According to U.S. Defense officials, the one between a U.S. RC-135U and a Russian Air Force Su-27 Flanker was something more than a routine intercept.

The RC-135U is one of the most secretive U.S. surveillance planes. It provides strategic electronic reconnaissance information, performing signal analysis by means of a wide variety of commercial off-the-shelf and proprietary hardware and software, including the Automatic Electronic Emitter Locating System.

In short, the Combat Sent can simultaneously locate, identify, and analyze multiple electronic signals.

Only two such kind of RC-135 are operated by the 55th Wing from Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska but they are usually deployed abroad to keep an eye where needed.

On Apr. 23, a U.S. Air Force RC-135U Combat Sent performing a routine surveillance mission in international airspace over the Sea of Okhotsk, north of Japan, some 60 miles off eastern Russia was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker.

Unlike almost all similar episodes, occurring quite often during and after the Cold War across the world, the one conducted by the Russian Air Force Su-27 at the end of April was a “reckless intercept”, “one of the most dangerous aerial encounters for a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft since the Cold War,” according to Defense Officials who talked to Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz, who first unveiled the near collision.

According to the Pentagon, the first part of the interception was as standard: the Su-27 (most probably the leader of a flight of at least two Flankers) approached the RC-135U and positioned more or less abeam the “intruder”. Then, instead of breaking away after positive identification of the “zombie” without  crossing the line of flight of the intercepted aircraft, the Su-27 crossed the route of the U.S. spyplane putting itself within 100 feet of the Combat Sent.

A dangerous maneuver (not compliant with the international standards) that momentarily put the two aircraft in collision course.

An episode that reminds the far more dangerous close encouter of another U.S. spyplane with the Chinese Navy back in 2001.

On Apr. 1, 2001, a U.S. Navy EP-3E with the VQ-1, flying an ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) mission in international airspace 64 miles southeast of the island of Hainan was intercepted by two PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy) J-8 fighters.

One of the J-8s piloted by Lt. Cdr. Wang Wei, made two close passes to the EP-3 before colliding with the spyplane on the third pass. As a consequence, the J-8 broke into two pieces and crashed into the sea causing the death of the pilot, whereas the EP-3, severely damaged, performed an unauthorized landing at China’s Lingshui airfield.

The 24 crew members (21 men and three women), that destroyed all (or at least most of ) the sensitive items and data on board the aircraft, were detained by Chinese authorities until Apr. 11.

Anyway, Russian pilots have been involved in similar incidents during intercept missions during the years. Just two examples.

On Sept. 13, 1987, a RNoAF P-3B had a mid air collision in similar circumstances with a Soviet Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker over the Barents Sea.

In Apr. 2012, whilst flying over the Barents Sea on a routine mission, a Norwegian P-3 Orion came across a Russian Air Force Mig-31 Foxhound.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

H/T to Giuseppe Stilo for the heads-up.

 

 

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China’s Su-27 Flankers intercept Japanese aircraft for the first time

Two Japanese aircraft flying over the East China Sea have been intercepted by People’s Liberation Army Air Force Su-27 Flanker jets for the first time.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force OP-3C and Japan Air Self-Defense Force YS-11EB were intercepted over the East China Sea by two PLAAF Su-27 Flankers.

Nothing really special, other than the first image of an armed Chinese Su-27 from an intercepted Japanese military aircraft.

Both close encounters occurred on May 24, at 11.00 and 12.00 AM LT.

Image credit: Japan’s MoD

 

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