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Dubai Airshow: Russians talking up UAE Su-35 deal

Posted 12 November 2017 · Add Comment

Sukhoi's super-manoeuvrable Su-35 has long been a popular staple of international aerospace trade show flying displays, where the aircraft's participation has been aimed more at boosting the overall reputation and prestige of Russia's aerospace industry than at addressing specific export campaigns.

Things are different in Dubai this year.

A range of Russian sources, including the TASS news agency, are predicting that the UAE will sign a contract to acquire some 12-18 Su-35S aircraft.

Emirati interest in the Su-35S was reported during the last Dubai Air Show and then again at the IDEX exhibition in Abu Dhabi earlier this year.

In April 2017, Denis Manturov, the Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, said that the UAE had received the technical documentation and information necessary for assessing the Su-35S.

Though talks are currently described as being at the “pre-contract negotiation stage”, TASS reported that “negotiations may be held in November during an air show in Dubai.”

The Su-35S is a modernised and much-improved derivative of the Sukhoi Su-27 ‘Flanker’, with thrust vectoring engines, a modern glass cockpit with LCD displays, HOTAS controls, and an N035 Irbis-E (Snow Leopard) passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar.

It is not directly related to the original Su-35 (or Su-27M) that first flew in 1988, and lacks that type’s canard foreplanes.

Though primarily intended for export, the launch order for 48 Su-35S aircraft was placed by the Russian Defence Ministry in 2009, and a follow-on order for 50 aircraft was quickly added.

The first Su-35S was delivered to Akhtubinsk for state joint tests with the defence ministry in May 2011, and the first batch of 12 Su-35S aircraft was delivered to the air force in December 2013. The delivery of another 10 aircraft in February 2014 marked the official entry into operational service. The type now serves with the 23rd Fighter Aviation Regiment at Centralnaya Uglovaya air base near Vladivostok in the Far East, and at Besovets air base near the Finnish border. 

Four Su-35S aircraft were deployed to Khmeimim air base in Syria in January 2016, and the type attained full operational capability in September 2017.

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