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  • Su-35S Shows A Few New Moves
    Posted by Bill Sweetman 1:14 PM on Aug 23, 2011

    A litlte late, but worth posting video of the Su-35S display at MAKS. It's important, because the Su-35S represents a change over earlier vectored-thrust Sukhois, with three-axis vectoring fully integrated into the flight control system and the foreplanes eliminated.

    The result is a display that emphasizes the fighter's ability to change speed and direction rapidly while retaining full control -- the original "cobra" maneuver on early Su-27s was followed by a predictable exit. A few highlights:

    1:50 - the Su-35S pulls up to kill forward speed, but without any perceptible "hang" at the top of the maneuver, turns smoothly left and reverses course.

    2:10-2:35 - Two successive reversals, neither seeming to bleed a lot of energy that can't be replaced.

    3:00 - Pull-up followed by inverted flat 180-degree rotation, half-roll and fly-out.

    3:50 - Mayday, mayday. Mav's in trouble. Except he's not. The Su flies out under full control.

    The demonstration doesn't make the Su-35S invincible, but neither is it tactically insignificant.

    Yes, we have high-off-boresight (HOBS) AAMs. But an AAM comes off the pylon supersonic and accelerating, and wrenching it through 90 degrees or more takes a lot of energy. Other things being equal you can engage at longer range with higher Pk by pointing the nose.

    Defensive moves? Any missile aimed at an aircraft needs a guidance algorithm that includes prediction, whether onboard the missile or in the launch platform, to avoid an energy-sapping tailchase. That involves defining the space where the target might be once the missile has run to range -- a volume that shrinks as distance closes.

    If the target can stop in mid-air, spin on its axis and run downhill into denser air, in a fraction of the missile's flight time, that makes the volume larger and makes the weapon work harder -- particularly combined with jamming. Three-dimensional maneuvers (such as a 4 g barrel roll) are also serious problems for tracking algorithms.

    Just as well that we have an internally carried, unjammable, high-Pk weapon in the works.

    Say hello to my little friend...

    Tags: ar99, tacair, su-35, maks

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