Russian supermaneuverable Su-35 Flankers have started flying over Syria

Russian Gen. 4++ fighter jet has joined the air war over Syria.

Yet another Russian modern weapon system has joined the Syrian Air War.

Previously exposed by images appeared on some Russian aerospace forums (that allegedly showed the aircraft during trailing a Tu-154 during the deployment), supermaneuverable Su-35S fighters have started “to carry out military tasks last week”, as confirmed by Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov.

The (four) aircraft will provide cover to the Russian warplanes conducting raids in Syria, that are already being covered by both RuAF and Syrian jets as well as the S-400 Triumf battery installed at Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia.

According to the Interfax News Agency, the aircraft belong to the first batch delivered in October-November last year “that were initially attached to the 23rd fighter aircraft regiment of the 303rd guard combined aviation division of the 11th Air Force and Air Defense Army of the Eastern Military district stationed at the Dzengi airfield and relocated to the Privolzhsky airfield in Astrakhan in a later period.”

The aircraft deployed to Syria following the usual route over the Caspian Sea, Iran and Iraq.

The 4++ generation Su-35 is characterized by supermaneuverability. Although 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…), 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.

The deployment will give the Russians an opportunity to test their new combat plane in a real war environment.

Image credit: Oleg Belyakov/Wiki


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. checking the videos in the link, I reckon that jet can literally do what it wants in the air. Not talking about military ability, that’s all to be proven, systems, subsystems, radars, missiles, EW equipment… but aerodynamically it’s a marvel.

    • Start hanging missiles with the pylons they need and that aerodynamic marvel goes out the window. Did anyone mention its huge RCS? Its cross section can be seen on the moon.

    • the F22 will never fly again in that area, while the Russians radars and aircrafts are operative out there if they want to keep their stealth secrets.

  2. A plane with huge rcs, (frontal rcs is 30 times more of eurocanrds ),huge drag, horrible fuel consumption, no supercuise,traditional alloys, and most of all horrible CTR in supersonic, (cannot really fight in supersonic) is considered on same generation then eurocanards ?
    Anybody here really thinks thta this slow monouvrating gigantic plane has comparable level of sensor fusion to raphale/Typhoon 4,5 generation ?

    • “huge rcs, (frontal rcs is 30 times more of eurocanrds ),huge drag,
      horrible fuel consumption, no supercuise,traditional alloys, and most of
      all horrible CTR in supersonic, (cannot really fight in supersonic)” – where did you read these fairy tales?

      • some different fairy tale book than the fairy tale books and blogs you read. regardless both are fairy tales.

      • Su-35 HARD FACTS:
        At an empty weight of 40,570lbs, this is probably the HEAVIEST fighter jet in existence today.
        With full internal fuel of 25,353lbs, it also carried the most fuel, but its ferry range is not particularly competitive. Only 4,500 km, with THREE additional external tanks.

        In all — this adds up to just mere 0,92 Thrust/Weight ratio (weapons, or drop tanks not included).
        Its wing-loading is not that impressive either, at 500,8 kg/m2 (full internal fuel).

        In ALL both numbers are equal to F-18 SuperHornet, although Su-35 is expected to have greater acceleration due its more aerodynamic design. But both numbers are decidedly INFERIOR to newer Western pure fighter types such as Eurocannards.

        Due to its low T/W ratio, it WILL NOT be capable of Supercruise like F-22, or the three newer Eurocannards.

        Supermanueverable? Yes, if it carries very little fuel, like it did in the Paris Air Show 2013. Thrust-Vectoring is always impressive in Air Shows, but losing your forward thrust, and lift will never be a good idea in real life close combat vs pure energy fighter, like the Typhoon, Gripen, or F-15C.

        RCS will unlikely to be impressive, even the Chinese are realistic with their expectations on this; due to inheriting legacy 1970s stealthless design, and lacking more optimal RCS reduction measures.

        Then, it is only equipped with single-frequency PESA radar; the Russian military industry has yet to demonstrate that it could produce competitive AESA product rivalling those made by many established, and technologically more advanced Western companies, like Raytheon, Northrop-Grumman, or Selex ES.

        Likewise, almost every other equipments installed on Su-35 are also, as yet, untested in real combat situations, or any multinational exercises, as the Russians has, well, no allies.

        Another hard facts: Russian missiles are usually 10 – 20% heavier than the Western equivalent. While they may offer an interesting choice of missile seekers, these missiles have yet to demonstrate reliable testing results, and/or impressive kill ratio in the field like the Western types.

        There is a valid reason why anti-radiation missile, or IR-seeker missiles are not commonly used in BVR combat in most Western types. They all require Mid-course update from the main fighter, before their seeker can independently locked on to its intended target. In this case, radar guided missiles will likely achieve lock at greater range vs other types.

        • Hmm, I hope you can learn to be a little less biased in your research… I mean, you call the Su-35 the heaviest fighter, but the F-22 weighs 1.3 tonnes more (both empty weight). And that 4500 km, do you realise what a huge distance that is? And that that range is more than the F-22, Eurofighter and Rafale can do (also with droptanks)?

          Yes, facts are facts, but come on… There’s much more to be said about these things you mention, but you might want to ask yourself first – do you even want to be unbiased?

        • Eurocanards (canard is written with one n, ffs) are also untested (as is the F-22), are only equipped with PESA radar and have yet to proof the combat effectiveness of their missiles (meteor). So your hard facts hardly make the case for anything. A half empty Su-35 has about the same range as a full Eurocanard and outperforms it in the thrust-to-weight ratio, same applies to wing loading and top speed. These are also facts, but you wont find me claiming here the inferiority of Eurocanards and their unproven cold war concepts.

          • Here is the little difference between the Russian warplanes vs Western-made ones.

            Do you know of those multi-national exercises like the Red Flag, or any European NATO exercises?

            Regardless of some shortcomings in its rule-of-engagements, which maybe subject for its own debate, these exercises are the only single opportunity to test new weapons / fighters against equipments used by other countries. This is where all the new US, European, to some extent, Israeli technologies are pit against each other, measured, and studied.

            The three Eurocanards, F-15, F-16, and F-18 have all evolved gradually, over the years thanks to various upgrades not just made to address issues real combat theatre like in Syria, but also in exercises like these. Things like AESA radar, and Meteor BVRAAM are among some some examples of new additions that didn’t exist a few years ago..

            The Russians, as I posted above, have no such opportunity, because they have no friends! And thus also no experience in conducting such exercises to test their weapons on peacetime basis, with other countries objectively.

            Now, have you ever heard Su-35 ever receiving ANY upgrades since its conception in 2007 ??

            Those Sukhois ARE NOT DESIGNED to take upgrades.
            They are still exactly the same as they were in 2007.

            If there are ANY upgrades to Russian warplanes, such as the ones they recently did to MiG-31 Foxhound, it will likely be a one-off event to buy them time to field newer fighters.

            Measured against technology that exist in 2007/8, those Su-35s maybe great warplanes, but time is changing.

            IMHO, these Su-35 will have its hands full going up against the much more modern, upgraded F-15C with AN/APG-63v3 AESA radar, and Tiger Eye IRST, among other things.

            Of course, the T/W ratio, and Wing-loading of ANY Western fighters are decidedly superior to the already VERY HEAVY Su-35.

            And then, there is also THE training factor. It is widely known that NATO fighter pilots can also get TEN TIMES as much flight hours annually compared to Russian pilots. US pilots can even flew more than 200 hours per year.

            And, this of course, mattered even more than just mere upgrades, or how great the planes are.

    • I think you’re confusing it with the Su-27. :) The Su-35 represents a huge overhaul – it’s built with different materials (including composites and advanced alloys) such that its range and payload are increased, has RAM applied to reduce its RCS, new engines so that it can indeed supercruise, new avionics… It’s really a different beast.

      • Yrah: rcs is reduced form 5 squre metres to 3,5 and CTR in subsonic is still inferior to eurocanards and CTR in supersonic is ridicoulous.

    • I havent seen any western aircraft video showing the supermaneuverable fly like the russian. Every video you posted, I will show you three or more of russian aircrafts doing better.

      • A retired test pilot once commented about those airshow demonstrations…

        “How much of their maneuvering is pure ballistics? You get going in a fast enough pitch rate, that they flip the airplane around and the aircraft has got to come out on the other side”

        When you see those videos or watch them live, it is indeed impressive. The important part thing to think about is how is that going to help the fighter aircraft when it comes time to do their job? Airshow maneuvers are merely a useless by product only suitable to please the crowd.

        • I fly everyday in virtual simulators (aka DCS world), the F-15 is the best aircraft in this game (means avionics, weapons, etc), but when is in WVR in dogfight at my six, with my SU-27 and I make the Cobra, all them overshoot me and are sitting ducks as Fargo said above. Tell this to your pilot friend and make a try in DCS World.

          • “I fly everyday in virtual simulators (aka DCS world)”

            so you don’t actually fly the aircraft in the air and actually put those virtual techniques to practice? Do you smell that? I don’t see any bovines around here but something smells bad.

            “but when is in WVR in dogfight at my six, with my SU-27 and I make the Cobra, all them overshoot me and are sitting ducks as Fargo said above. Tell this to your pilot friend and make a try in DCS World.”

            yet every fighter pilot (retired or/and active) I’ve ever spoken to (even Raptor drivers) have all unequivocally said that such a maneuver in BFM and ACM is essentially useless and stupid.

          • You are dealing with people who are, essentially inexperienced. And the weapons and radar modelled on DCS for the F-15 is already outdated. But I have yet to see anyone do that reliably. And lastly DCS is a simulator not the real world.

            Remember, people used to claim the MiG-21 was superior, then the F-4 came along and showed how wrong they are. Doubt me? Buy the DCS:MiG-21 and enjoy how primitive everything is.

      • Looks pretty on an airshow, the moment they try to pull this stunt on a real dogfight they will lose so much energy that they will be quite literally, sitting ducks for any airplane chasing them.

      • Not sure how to reply to your comment, Im not a fighter pilot….however, if I was, I would like my chances in an SU35S over the F35.

        • As a joke, if you were an f35 pilot your chances to survive a ware are very high as …..mother system wont’t be ready for combat for anothern10’years :) haha

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