Russian Knights to Transition from Su-30SM to Su-35S

The Russian Knights will so fly the Su-35S. (Image credit: Author)

The change is imminent.

Seven months ago, Sputnik/Urdu Point reported that there are first plans put in place to equip the Russian Air Force’s aerobatic team with four new Su-35S fighter aircraft to replace the Russian Knights’ Su-30SMs that were introduced in 2017. The rumor emerged at the 2019 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA); back then, the plans existed, but no specifics were provided to the reporters.

According to the switch to the new platform is to happen this month. The outlet refers to a statement made by the Sukhoi company as its source. Sukhoi claims that Su-35 airframes for the aerobatic team are expected to be manufactured in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The jets would not differ from the series-manufactured examples. The handing off is planned to happen in November. All are serially manufactured planes. The handover ceremony will take place at the beginning of November,” the company said.

One of the Su-30SM of the Russian Knights display team.

Russian Knights (Russian: Русские Витязи, romanized: Russkkiye Vityazi) is an aerobatic team of the Russsian Aerospace Forces. It was formed on Apr. 5. 1991 at the Kubinka airbase. Russian Knights, flying the Flankers, and Swifts (Strizhi (Russian: Стрижи, Strizhi), flying the Fulcrums, are the best known of the Russian Aerobatic Teams flying the actual MRCA. They are not the only ones.

Lipetsk Airbase, a training centre for the Russian Air Force, also has an aerobatic team, Sokoly Rossii (Falcons of Russia). The Falcons of Russia, formed in June 2004, have been flying the Su-35 as well, demonstrating the Flanker’s E superior maneuverability and air combat capabilities. Currently, the Lipetsk-based team flies airframes with no special color schemes.

Sokoly Rossii team flying their Su-35S.


About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.