In their excitement about new armaments, many observers have a hard time keeping book on the latest weapons, forcing yours truly to follow a few important systems like the Su-35S. Some even say the Su-35S is already in the inventory, but a close look at press reporting shows otherwise.
The media reported the first series production Su-35S flew at KnAAPO in Komsomolsk-na-Amure yesterday. After these factory trials, this aircraft will be delivered to the Defense Ministry.
Sukhoy has successfully completed preliminary testing on the Su-35S prototype. Preliminary testing confirmed that its on-board systems meet technical requirements, checked its reliability and controllability, its engines, and navigation system.
According to ITAR-TASS, a Sukhoy spokesman said:
“The Su-35S has been presented for state joint testing [ГСИ or GSI]. The first step in the framework of the fighter’s state joint testing will be receipt of the preliminary finding of the customer – Russia’s Air Forces on the aircraft’s correspondence to main requirements with the aim of providing it to Air Forces’ operational units.”
Now recall that late last August Sukhoy said the Su-35S was completing preliminary testing and would start state testing in the fall. Fall has become the following spring, and Sukhoy announces again that the Su-35S is ready to start GSI.
The Russians advertise the Su-35S as a 4++ generation fighter, using fifth generation technologies to give it an advantage over similar aircraft.
The Defense Ministry gave Sukhoy a contract to deliver 48 Su-35S by 2015, but Voyenno-promyshlennyy kuryer, among others, says the military department will probably buy 48 more in 2015-2020. VPK goes further:
“According to some assessments, the Russian Air Forces need 150-200 Su-35S. The Defense Ministry now intends to buy 60 fifth generation T-50 fighters in all.”
So VPK suggests some think the Su-35S should be a primary fighter rather than just a gap filler for PAK FA.