In 2015, 24 Su-35 fighters were sold to China under the first export contract, the CEO of Rostec, Sergey Chemezov, stated at a meeting with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
“The main business event that occurred last year in 2015 was the first export contract for Su-35 fighters signed by Rosoboronexport. We sold 24 fighters to China,” RIA News reports Sergey Chemezov’s statement. Thus, China has officially become the first foreign customer for Su-35s.
The Su-35 is a multifunctional 4++ generation fighter. The Su-35 is made based on Su-27/Su-30 fighters, and the “thirty-fifth” is a conceptually new fighter employing fifth-generation combat avionics.
KRET enterprises developed the Su-35 ” glass cockpit” indicators and a number of other avionics. In addition, the Concern’s specialists created the platformless INS capable of autonomously determining a fighter location without satellite navigation or communication with ground services.
It should also be mentioned that this latest navigation system was designed for use in the fifth-generation fighter PAK-FA. This points once again to the fact that the Su-35 comes close to the fifth-generation fighter in all of its features. It meets most of the requirements for fifth-generation aircraft’s, except for the stealth technology and the active phased antenna array (APAA).
Despite the lack of the APAA, the Su-35 radar system can detect targets at ranges of up to 400 km. These capabilities are provided by a new fighter radar control system with the phased array antenna Irbis, which is produced by the Ryazan State Instrument Enterprise, which is a part of KRET.
The important difference of the Su-35 over the Su-27 is the use of new high-power engines in the propulsion system. They were designed at NPO Saturn, a part of UEC, and are known as “117S”.
Presently, in service of the Russian VKS there are 48 Su-35 fighters. Under the current state arms program, Aerospace Forces shall receive 96 Su-35s before 2020.
Interest is being shown in the Russian fighter from abroad as well: some potential customers are Algeria, Egypt, Venezuela, and Vietnam. According to some expert opinions, the Su-35 is able to be a serious opponent to the F-15, the Eurofighter and the Rafale.