Russia’s biennial super air show and arms bazaar wrapped up last weekend and the highlight of the show wasn’t Russia’s newish stealthy fighter, the Sukhoi T-50. Instead it was the breathtakingly maneuverable ultimate version of Sukhoi’s renowned Su-27 Flanker series of fighters, the Su-35S Super Flanker. Watch what it can do.
Although the Sukhoi T-50 flew a more energetic routine at the MAKS show this year than its inaugural appearance in 2013 when the jet was still in its early prototype stage, it could not compete with with seemingly physics bending pedal turns, somersaults and nose pointing capabilities of the Su-35S, the T-50’s generational predecessor.
Watch the videos below to get an idea of just how wild this display was. Be sure to keep an eye on the Su-35’s 3D thrust vectoring nozzles that work independent of one another.
If you are a fan of vapor capes and wing vortices, the Su-35 flew on Friday right as the cloud cover was breaking up, which offered some incredible atmospherics. Considering the Su-35 weighs over 40,000 pounds empty, that is a lot of mass rumbling through the sky.
Here is the T-50’s demo for comparison with the top video shot on a fair weather day and the bottom shot on Friday among the breaking clouds.
Here is also a the carrier-borne MiG-27K’s demo which seemed like an exact mix between the Legacy Hornet demo and the F-16 Viper demo back here in the states.
The Su-30 has been sort of a canvas for which Sukhoi has painted their most aggressive Flanker dreams on for almost three decades. Different versions have flown over the years, some with canards, experimental systems, wild paint jobs and all with increasing levels of technology. Now that the Flanker has reached maturity, the Su-35BM configuration has rolled into a final production example in the guise of the Su-30S, of which Russia currently a few dozen in service out of an initial order of 48 aircraft. An additional 48 Su-30S order was announced at MAKS this year.
This number will probably grow even further in the not so distant future as the T-50’s high cost and Russia’s faltering economy have become barriers to putting the 5th generation fighter into widespread production. Russia has also been working for close to a decade at finding a buyer internationally for the Su-35 without success.
Regardless of if the jet ever flies in another nation’s colors, it will remain the king of fighter air show demonstrations for the foreseeable future.
Contact the author at Tyler@jalopnik.com.