Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has transferred the fourth batch of Su-35S fighters to the Aerospace Forces since June this year indicating high confidence level in this 4++ generation jet aircraft.
While the official number of aircraft transferred has not been revealed, previous reports of production of Russian aircraft put the number of each batch as between 10-15 aircraft which means 40-60 aircraft may have been delivered so far this year.
“Our aircraft manufacturers have achieved good production rates of combat machines and are delivering them to the Russian Aerospace Forces in a timely manner. This is not the last delivery of aviation complexes this year,” Vladimir Artyakov, First Deputy General Director of the Rostec State Corporation was quoted as saying in a release.
A UK-based think tank, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) published a report in November 2022 that stated, “Russian fighters have remained highly effective and lethal against Ukrainian aircraft near the front-lines throughout the war, especially the Su-35S with the R-77-1 long-range missile and, in recent months, the MiG- 31BM with the R-37 very long-range missile.”
Ukrainian pilots confirm that Russia’s Su-30SM and Su-35S completely outclass Ukrainian Air Force fighter aircraft on a technical level. The long range and good look-down, shoot-down performance of their N011M Bars and N035 Irbis-E radars, and the much longer reach and active-radar guidance capability of the R-77-1 air-to-air missile compared with the semi-active R-27R/ER available to Ukrainian fighters, are the most important aspects of this technical overmatch, RUSI wrote.
In November 2022, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that Su-35S pilots shot down two Ukrainian MiG-29 and Su-25 aircraft in separate incidents.
Russian fighters have frequently been able to achieve a radar lock and launch R-77-1 missiles at Ukrainian fighters from over 100 km away. Even though such shots have a low probability of kill, they force Ukrainian pilots to go defensive or risk being hit while still far outside their own effective range.
Furthermore, the R-77-1’s active radar seeker, combined with the N011M and N035 Irbis-E radars, gives Russian pilots the ability to launch missiles in track-while-scan mode, meaning that Ukrainian pilots are unlikely to get alerted from their radar-warning receivers until the missile itself goes active a few seconds before impact, Russian media reports said.
According to a Ukrainian official who spoke to ABC News in March 2023, “the Su-35S is equipped with very effective radar and long-distance rockets. Ukraine currently does not have capabilities to counter this threat.”