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. It just shows the wonderful things you can do with a longitudinally unstable plane and computers. Useful in combat? Not since the Korean War. Amazingly expensive aerobatics machine, though :)

  2. “Combat load” is a very good weasel word.

    Because we know that both the Gripen E and Eurofighter are able to supercruise carrying an A2A configuration and a fuel tank.

    This mean that the LM definition of combat arnament must mean a fully kitted out A2G configuration where the F-35 benefits from only being able to carry 2 A2G missiles and 2 A2A missiles for self defense.

    • “Because we know that both the Gripen E and Eurofighter are able to supercruise carrying an A2A configuration and a fuel tank.”?

      Prove it.

  3. One of the more care free demonstrations I have seen, seemed to move really effortless thru all the maneuvers. As other have argued, not sure how some of these help in combat and let’s not forget, the fighter is in a clean configuration and probably flying with less than full tanks….

  4. I’ve always wondered how useful/meaningful this level of maneuverability really is in combat missions–anyone here actually know?

    And furthermore, if such supermaneuverability is so useful, why aren’t more premier fighter aircraft designed to be able to perform as such? I doubt the Russians are the only ones with the technological nous to create such airframes and engines.

    • That maneuver in combat would make this plane a large target
      if you notice the background the plane is loosing air speed and
      falling would prove deadly in combat. In Red Flag that maneuver
      was tried by one of the SU-30 and was easily shot down need
      I say more.

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