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Su-27 Sukhoi
ASCC codename: Flanker
Multi-Role Fighter

Marking a major improvement in the quality of Soviet fighters, the Su-27 is a long-range air superiority fighter comparable to the US F-15 in size and mission. The Su-27 is equipped with an analog fly-by-wire control system, a powerful pulse-Doppler radar, and up to ten air-to-air missiles giving it a potent look-down shoot-down capability. The Flanker also features a rearward-facing radar at the end of a long boom placed between the engines allowing the Su-27 to search for targets behind the aircraft. The Su-27's high thrust-to-weight ratio and refined aerodynamics allow superb flight characteristics at high angles of attack. In addition, the Soviet Navy purchased an improved Su-27K design, later redesignated the Su-33, to operate off its first class of large aircraft carriers. The Su-33 features canards for improved maneuverabilty as well as a strengthened airframe for carrier operations. An interesting feature of the Su-27 is its autopilot which is able to return the aircraft to right-side-up level flight at any altitude when the pilot presses a "panic-button." Besides the Su-33, the basic Su-27 airframe has also been developed into the Su-30, Su-35 and Su-37 fighters as well as the Su-34 bomber.

Data below for Su-27S 'Flanker-B' and Su-27UB 'Flanker-C'
Last modified 24 March 2011

First Flight (T10-1) 20 May 1977
(T10-3) 23 August 1979
(T-10S-1) 20 April 1981
(Su-27UB) 7 March 1985
Service Entry

December 1984

CREW: one: pilot


$40 to $70 million

Wing Root unknown (5%)
Wing Tip

unknown (5%)

Length 71.92 ft (21.94 m)
Wingspan 48.17 ft (14.70 m)
Height (Su-27S) 19.42 ft (5.92 m)
(Su-27UB) 20.83 ft (6.36 m)
Wing Area 667.8 ft² (62.04 m²)
Canard Area

not applicable

Empty (Su-27S) 36,115 lb (16,380 kg)
(Su-27UB) 38,580 lb (17,500 kg)
Normal Takeoff (Su-27S) 51,015 lb (23,140 kg)
(Su-27UB) 53,220 lb (24,140 kg)
Max Takeoff (Su-27S) 62,390 lb (28,300 kg)
(Su-27S) 72,750 lb (33,000 kg) [final production lot]
(Su-27UB) 67,130 lb (30,450 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: 20,725 lb (9,400 kg)
external: none
Max Payload

8,820 lb (4,000 kg) normal load
17,640 lb (8,000 kg) maximum allowable load

Powerplant two Saturn/ Lyul'ka AL-31F afterburning turbofans
Thrust 33,510 lb (149.06 kN)
55,116 lb (245.18 kN) with afterburner

Max Level Speed at altitude:
(Su-27S) 1,555 mph (2,500 km/h) at 36,090 ft (11,000 m), Mach 2.35
(Su-27UB) 1,335 mph (2,150 km/h) at 36,090 ft (11,000 m), Mach 2.0
at sea level: 870 mph (1,400 km/h), Mach 1.14
Initial Climb Rate unknown
Service Ceiling (Su-27S) 60,700 ft (19,000 m)
(Su-27UB) 57,400 ft (17,500 m)
Range typical: 1,510 nm (2,800 km)
(Su-27S) 2,010 nm (3,720 km)
(Su-27UB) 1,620 nm (3,000 km)
g-Limits +9

Gun one 30-mm GSh-301 cannon (150 rds)
Stations ten external hardpoints: two tandem under the fuselage centerline, two under the air ducts, four under the wings, two on the wingtips
Air-to-Air Missile R-60/AA-8 Aphid, up to six R-27R/T AA-10 Alamo-A/B, up to four R-27ER/ET AA-10 Alamo-C/D, R-73/AA-11 Archer, R-33/AA-9 Amos
Air-to-Surface Missile none
Bomb free-fall, cluster bombs
Other rocket pods, ECM pods

T-10 'Flanker-A' Original prototype, suffered from excessive drag, weak structure, excessive weight, and flutter; four built
T-10S Redesigned prototype
P-42 Third Su-27S prototype (T10S-3) modified to set several climb and altitude records
T10-20R Special conversion testbed used for long-range supersonic flight
Su-27 'Flanker-A' Production model prototype and development aircraft; 15 built
Su-27S 'Flanker-B' First production model with refined aerodynamics and an aft radar extension, single-seat model designed for dual-role air defense and ground attack missions
Su-27SK Export version of the Su-27S
Su-27SKM Updated variant of the Su-27S for export
Su-27SM Upgrade program for the Su-27S
Su-27P 'Flanker-B' Identical to the Su-27S but designed purely as an air defense interceptor and equipped with an in-flight refueling probe
Su-27UB 'Flanker-C' Two-seat combat-capable trainer with an improved radar in a longer nose
Su-27PU 'Flanker-C' Prototype of the Su-30 fighter bomber
Su-27K 'Flanker-D' Prototype of the Su-33 navalized fighter, also referred to as the T-10K
Su-27KU or Su-27IB Prototype of the Su-34 bomber
Su-27M 'Flanker-E' Prototype of the Su-35 fighter
J-11 Chinese designation for the Su-27, perhaps up to 300 to be license built in China
J-11B Improved version of the Su-27SK developed by China that features major upgrades including a new radar and an infrared search and track system while also incorporating Chinese weapons, reports suggest further orders for the Su-27SK (J-11) built in Russia are to be cancelled in favor of constructing the J-11B locally in China

KNOWN COMBAT RECORD: Abkhaz-Georgian Civil War (Abkhazia, Russia, 1992-1994)
Eritrean-Ethiopian War (Ethiopia, 1998-2000)
Angola civil war (2000-2002)
South Ossetia War (Russia, 2008)

KNOWN OPERATORS: Abkhazia (Abkhazian Air Force)
Angola, Força Aérea Popular de Angola (Angolan People's Air Force)
Belarus, Voyenno Vozdushnyye Sily (Belarus Air Force)
China, Zhongkuo Shenmin Taifang Tsunputai (People's Liberation Army Air Force)
Eritrea (Eritrean Republic Air Force)
Ethiopia, Ye Ityopya Ayer Hayl (Ethiopian Air Force)
Indonesia, Tentara Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Udara (Indonesian Air Force)
Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan Air Force)
Russia, Voyenno Vozdushniye Sili (Russian Air Force)
Russia, Aviatsiya Voyenno-Morskoyo Flota Sily Rossii (Russian Naval Aviation)
Ukraine, Voyenno Vozdushnyye Sily (Ukraine Military Air Forces)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Voyenno Vozdushniye Sili (Soviet Air Force)
Uzbekistan (Uzbek Air Force)
Vietnam, Khong Quan Nhan Dan Viet Nam (Vietnam People's Army Air Force)
United States (US Air Force)



  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1997, p. 868, Sukhoi Su-27 and derivatives.
  • Donald, David and Lake, Jon, ed. The Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 2000, p. 411-413, Sukhoi Su-27 'Flanker', Sukhoi Su-27UB 'Flanker-C'.
  • Gunston, Bill, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Warplanes. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1995, p. 268, Sukhoi Su-27 'Flanker'.
  • Gunston, Bill, ed. The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 1995, p. 363-366, Su-27, Su-27 variants.
  • Isby, David C. Jane's Fighter Combat in the Jet Age. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1997, p. 181.
  • Munro, Bob and Chant, Christopher. Jane's Combat Aircraft. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995, p. 224-225.
  • Paul Nann's Military Aviation Photo Gallery
  • Rendall, David. Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide, 2nd ed. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1999, p. 102.
  • Spick, Mike. Brassey's Modern Fighters: The Ultimate Guide to In-Flight Tactics, Technology, Weapons, and Equipment. Washington, DC: Brassey's, 2000, p. 82-87, Sukhoi Su-27, -35 and -37 Flanker.
  • Spohrer, Jennifer. Jane's Combat Simulations: USNF '97 Users Manual. San Mateo, CA: Electronic Arts, 1996, p. 8.41-8.43.
  • Taylor, Michael. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1996/1997. London: Brassey's, 1996, p. 90-92, Sukhoi Su-27 (NATO name Flanker).
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999/2000. London: Brassey's, 1999, p. 70-72, Sukhoi Su-27 (NATO name Flanker).

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