Forget the F-22 and F-35, this is a real Super Maneuverable Fighter plane: the Russian Su-35 Flanker-E

The Su-35 (NATO designation Flanker E), Russia’s latest version of the famous super-maneuverable multirole fighter jet has demonstrated its stunning capabilities during the first day of the 50th Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.

During its display, the 4++ generation aircraft has showcased some almost impossible manoeuvres, demonstrating unbelievable low-speed handling authority.

Ok, it’s not stealth (even if some sources say it can detect stealth planes like the F-35 at a distance of over 90 kilometers), but once engaged in a WVR (Within Visual Range) air-to-air engagement, it can freely maneuver to point the nose and weapons in any direction, to achieve the proper position for a kill.

Some weeks ago, someone was impressed by a (quite normal) F-35’s High AOA test flight video.

Bill Flynn, Lockheed test pilot responsible for flight envelope expansion activities for the JSF recently said that all three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter will have better kinematic performance than any fourth-generation fighter plane with combat payload, including the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

The F-35 maneuverability shown in the video seems far to be special. Unlike the Su-35’s impressive one.

Image credit: Erwan Malgras

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Indeed, great maneuvering… But with no horizon or reference points to take measuring, we can only imagine those…
    But, as you all know, it’s the whole weapon system that makes a plane deadly. And that includes the pilot, right?

    Pitts do incredible stuff, also…

    What I want to say, is that a real decent fighter plane (Grippen, Rafale, Typhoon, etc…) can take any F-22, F-35 or SU-35, if piloted by a skilled pilot, aware of the involvement and the surroundings.

    Of course, it’s a matter of odds, I know… :)

    • Grippen, Rafale, Raptors and Typhoons are a lethal combination, I think this sums it
      up. These aircraft offer excellent performance in differing corners of the flight envelope its good to know they are all on the same side they make an assume combination.

    • i agree. if you can get close to a f22 you stand a chance of beating in a dog fight. if you get close to it

  2. Awesome. Good thrust to weight ratio, obviously. However, the killing is done at distance with missiles. There’s a very good appraisal of the SU35E versus the F18E/F Super Hornet. A little disturbing, to say the least.

    The U.S. is putting its eggs in the basket of ‘you can’t see me’ F22s and the, if it is ever delivered, F35 series.

    Would have been nice to see a comparison with the F22.

    • Please don’t read what air power Australia says. There obiously putting bullsh*t on every thing. How about you learn from the actuall pilots. The Super Bug and Flanker are evenly matched in within visual range. I guess they are the most challenging combos to dogfight :)

      • Pilot always makes the difference, but the ausairpower article set out the technical differences. The Rus have come a long way from the days of the MiG 21Ds and F.

        • I think the Super Hornet can hold its own against other fighters in the Flight evolpe. The Super Hornet is pretty dang maneuverable once you put missiles on the Super Hornet with AIM-9x and AIM-120. It’s maneuverability at Slow speed could give other aircraft a hard time. I think it will compete with the Flanker once they meet in combat. Super Hornet is the most maneuverable 4.5 Gen airplane that can maneuver like a Flanker :)

      • The super bug is slower and a bit less manueverable than the sukhoi, BUT missile upgrades and radar upgrades keep it competitive. The reality is that unless they are facing a competent and WELL trained opponent ,US, Australian and allied nations using the Superhornet are going to take the combat win and down the su 35. Against Indian, Russian and “maybe” chinese , the issue will be first shot,first kill( doubtful Aussies or US Navy will be in a gun fight with the Indians)…

      • Pilots in todays fighter aircraft merely guide the aircraft…its the flight computers that actually “fly” them, so I would have to say that physics (towards engineered parameters and tolerances into the designs that is) and those 1980’s cliche mentions of pushing the envelope are all done by algorithms computed from the AFCS, you would be surprised what modern aircraft WONT let you do when stick wiggling and what they will do when computers “push” their engineered “envelopes”.

        James what do you fly?

    • That must be the last thought of a F-35 pilot when confronted with the SU-35.

  3. Very cool video. I really enjoyed the tumble at :32.

    Though, given the nature of air to air combat over the last 35 years or so, I don’t see how any of this is going to help the poor saps who are unlucky enough to leave the ground in one of these aircraft to face an Israeli or NATO attack.

    • Considering that in the event of a Israeli or NATO attack, these “poor saps” will be operating with support from hundreds of interceptors and likely thousands of tactical and theater anti-aircraft missiles (Tor, Pantsir, S-300, S-400, etc.) launched every minute, the saps will be just fine and their highly maneuverable aircraft will be invaluable in engaging those American and Israeli aircraft that do make it throught the the gauntlet of AA defenses and are able to engage at close range.

      • My comment you’re replying to is from over a year ago, before Russia invaded Ukraine and people started talking about Russian conflict scenarios.

        I was not talking about a NATO or Israeli attack on Russia – but on one of Russia’s potential export customers. Customers that do not, and will not ever, possess anything near the gauntlet of AA defenses possessed by Russia.

        • you do realize how much Israel has come with its weaponry right? Come on they have power close to Russia, not quite, but close

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