Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Best Fighter Jet in the World?

Russia's SU-35 seems to be a world beater.   Now that supposed stealth invincibility is being rapidly degraded through new technology counter-measures, you have to wonder how a marginal performer like the F-35 would fare against the Russian jet?  Actually you might try to figure out how long the F-35 would last.

I've seen a lot of jet fighters going back to the F-86 Sabre and the CF-100 and pretty much everything since but I have never seen one that performs like the Russian SU-35.  To the Sukhoi, a flat spin is a maneuver, not a lethal emergency.   Here's the Russian jet at this year's Paris Air Show.


Anonymous said...

Compare to the F35 Lightning that can't fly withing 25 miles of a lightning storm. The official response is, uh yeah, but we're gonna fix that.

The Mound of Sound said...

The F-35 Lightning has a host of problems. It has a space problem. The inside is already packed leaving no room for new equipment. It has a weight problem. They've already had to downgrade its takeoff and landing parameters due to the weight. They also removed essential fire-suppression hardware to get the weight down. It has a shape problem. Unlike conventional jets, the F-35 has a stealth shape that can't be readily modified by strakes, fences, etc.

ThinkingManNeil said...

Our Russian friends are no slouches when it comes to aircraft design. We in the West have tended far too long to dismiss their capabilities. I've long maintained that several of the top-end fighters offered by Sukhoi could take the F-35's lunch money and send it packing back to Palmdale with its tail duly singed. The "Lightning II" is a POS aircraft IMO; a true failure for the fabled rep of Lockheed. It's little more than corporate, pork barrel workfare for the monolithic and moribund American military-industrial-congressional complex.

At the opposite end of the Russian aviation spectrum, several chaps from the famed, and colossal, Antonov Design Bureau got together after the collapse of the USSR and with some Saudi Arabian funding formed Aeroprakt ("Practical Aero") in the Ukraine and came up with this nifty and highly popular little LSA/Advanced Ultralight - the A22 Foxbat/Valor:


Anonymous said...

Simply amazing.
Maybe Canada should buy these instead of the hunk of shit the u.s. is trying to pawn off on us.

The Mound of Sound said...

My favourite part is at the beginning of the clip @ 0:37 where the Sukhoi climbs into a cloud only to emerge on the reciprocal, diving out of that same cloud just 3 seconds later.

It's an amazing plane but that's also to the credit of an amazing demo pilot. Watching that I couldn't help but wonder how beat up he must have been at the end of that 10-minute stint.

The magic to the SU-35, of course, are the new engines and thrust vectoring. The Russians discovered if you want effective thrust vectoring, the engines need to be spaced apart.

The F-22 has two-axis TV but European Typhoon pilots have found the F-22 advantage works only if the pilot can get a quick kill shot. If not, the 22-bleeds so much energy it's easy meat for a conventional fighter's guns.

With pilot skill being equal, I can't see a pursuer getting guns on the SU-35. The Russian jet just gives its pilot too many options.

Elliott Taylor said...

Impressive, and like most modern multi-role jet fighters it is supercruise capable, a necessity for as vast a space as Canada. It also looks like it could literally fly circles around much of its competition. Nevertheless we should not buy Russian until they cease their increasingly obscene persecution of LGBT people.

Purple library guy said...

Well, that LGBT thing is fair enough I suppose--but then how many reasons do we have why we shouldn't buy American? Their executions? Their torture? Their kangaroo courts? (and I'm just talking about the US prison/justice system, not the "war on terror" stuff!) Their illegal wars? Their "double-tap" bombings, deliberately assassinating first responders to emergencies?
If we want to go down that road, we're going to have to restart the Avro Arrow project, and even there we probably shouldn't buy from Canada until they cease their increasingly obscene persecution of their First Nations.

Mark said...

Pretty impressive stuff. That's the kind of maneuvers you see in sci-fi movies that have single-pilot fighters in outer space; and would always generate the comment that a real fighter couldn't do that.

This is life imitating sci-fi.

The Mound of Sound said...

You're right, Elliott, on the supercruise issue plus the SU-35 carries a huge fuel load. A great failing of the Lockheed light bomber is it's inability to achieve supercruise combined with its limited, internal fuel capacity. It has no rear-aspect stealth which leaves it desperately vulnerable to being overtaken from behind by something like this Sukhoi.

We won't buy it because that would be politically intolerable to the Americans.

I hope that Canadian pilots in our 35's never have to go up against good pilots in their 35's.

It's almost certain now that Canada will be buying the F-35. There's no way we would have the balls to be the only prospective customer to say 'no.' Business schools should teach Lockheed's model for selling this troubled product.

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks for that link, Neil. Talk about a 'crossover' airplane and at $80,000 fully loaded, wow. If I was a younger man... I wound up going through every video I could find.

Elliott Taylor said...

Mound, if the Tories are defeated in the next go-round perhaps the incoming government can cancel the order. Chretien did that readily enough with the EH-101 choppers and there was a fraction of the controversy over them.

The Mound of Sound said...

I think we're running out of time on this, Elliott. Whether we like it or not, there's every indication that the Arctic is going to become heavily militarized. Even China, which has no Arctic territory, has stated its intention to maintain some armed presence in the polar region. China already has the world's largest, non-nuclear icebreaker and more are said to be in the works.

Because we're a nation of vast size with a relatively small population and proportionate GDP, it's critical that we spend our defence budget wisely. That means selecting a combat aircraft that can meet our needs, not the Americans'. We need an aircraft with twin-engine reliability, speed (supercruise), range and significant payload that - something extremely capable in air superiority and patrol/interception. We need an aircraft that can do just about everything the F-35 can't.

Al Hunter said...

F35 is toast before it even gets delivered.
We are idiots to buy the US piece of junk.

Purple library guy said...

Well, it's good news for the Venezuelans; they tend to buy Russian these days. If the Americans ever successfully get Colombia to attack, they'd be using American gear . . .

The Mound of Sound said...

Al, I don't agree that the F-35 is a piece of junk. It is simply prototypical technology, something of a Beta version of what a stealth warplane should be.

I don't fault Lockheed for this, not at all. I can remember clearly when George W. Bush proclaimed that America was going to develop warplanes that weren't just one generation but two generations ahead of any rival's technology. That's an ambitious burden to put on any manufacturer and carries enormous consequences and plentiful pitfalls.

The F-35 light stealth bomber was supposed to be the poor cousin of the much more capable F-22 stealth fighter. The F-22 was to cover the F-35's, to sweep the skies clear for the stealth bombers.

The U.S. originally called for about 800 F-22s. Obama pulled the rug out from under Lockheed when he canceled the programme at a buy of just 170.

Killing off the F-22 must have had huge financial implications for Lockheed and ramped up the company's dependence on the F-35. As the 35 was going to have to be more of a standalone warplane the PR mill began describing it as a world-beating fighter when it's anything but.

If America's allies had any sense or guts they would have demanded that Washington sell them the airplane it won't let them have, the F-22.

As for Venezuela, it's unclear which SU-35 it might receive. Some have canards, some have thrust vectoring, some have both. There's great confusion in the SU-35/37 family.

The Keystone Garter said...

I want my planes to fly like tanks. Yes the Su-35 is the best. No, no one knows how important pilot skill is. I belieive the stealthy skins go in the wrong direction.
I favour buying one hundred A-10s at $15M a pop. I favour refitting them with the best ECMs every decade; perhaps subsidizing our own Crown company to do the job if the NATO partner bigwig suppliers neglect this aircraft. I favour buying the A-10 or clone from whoever can make it the cheapest, including China, but making the ECM parts here. I favour developing armaments for custom A-10 varieties that can: accomplish atmosheric R+D, defeat robotic infantry gone amok, defeat UAVs, deactivate ground sensor networks such as a town full of robots's two way radios, and deactivate an aerial cloud of future sensors.
The survivability of the A-10 makes up for its inferior evasion and inferior first strike capability vs this Russia craft with its smooth move at 6:00. The primary 2020+ target is not another nation's fleet. Can the Russia craft protect its own base from a robot army? What about operate in a low ground personnel support environment such as in a pandemic?
The A-10 can use alcohol. The fertilizer supply chain is a little easier to maintain than jet fuel.