The Su-27 is a big long-range air superiority fighter, comparable to the U.S. F-15 but superior in many respects. It is a twin-engined aircraft with a blended wing and fuselage, and twin tail fins. At airshows the Su-27 demonstrated an exceptional controllability at high angles of attack.
The Su-27 (NATO designation Flanker) is the front-line fighter aircraft designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau. The export version is the Su-27SK. The aircraft is equipped to operate autonomously in combat over hostile territory, in escort of deep-penetration strike aircraft and in the suppression of enemy airfields. The aircraft provides general air defense in cooperation with ground and airborne control stations.
A shipboard version of the Su-27, also known as the Su-33, with canards and folding wings, has been tested on Russia's first big carriers, and there also is a two-seat attack version, the Su-27IB or Su-34, with side-by-side seating in a reshaped nose.
In 1969 Russia decided that they need a new fighter which is capable of outperforming all current U.S. aircraft including the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Falcon. Sukhoi OKB won the contract, and with that they began their task of constructing what was to become the world's best fighter jet. The name designated to the development project was T10. The aircraft produced had to be capable of lookdown/shoot down capability, and be capable of destroying targets at long ranges.
May 20, 1977 the first prototype designated T10-1 took off. After an evaluation it was discovered that the T10-1 did not fulfil its requirements for maximum range, and manoeuvrability, and thus proved inferior to its western counterparts. The prototype had aerodynamics problems, engine problems and fuel consumption problems. The second prototype the T10-2 crashed because of a fly-by-wire software failure which resulted in the death of the test pilot. After such disappointing results the from the T10 program Sukhoi seemed to stop T10 development, because there were no more T10 prototypes tested. They didn't, by 1981 a new design was introduced loosely based on the old T10. The new aircraft was designated T10S which was to become what today is known as the Su27 Flanker. The T10S prototype flew on April 20, 1981. The T10S showed it self to be a masterpiece of engineering having no equal anywhere in the world in range, manoeuvrability, and combat effectiveness.
The huge Su27's airframe is constructed from advanced lightweight aluminium lithium alloys, making it light for its size. The wing is designed using an ogival shape and wingroot extension. The wing has a 42 degrees leading edge sweep with full span leading edge slats and trailing edge flaperons. The flaperons combine the functions of conventional flaps and ailerons and move in unison as flaps to provide lift and drag. They move out of unison to function as ailerons.
The engines of the Su-27 are two AL31F turbofan engines designed by A.M. Lyul'la, the MMZ Saturn General Designer. These engines are deemed highly economical and is rated at 12500 kg static thrust in afterburner and at 7600 kg in military power. The AL31F engine has been proven to be reliable, robust, and maintainable. When tested in severely disturbed airflow, and in extreme conditions, the engine performed effectively. That is why manoeuvres like the tail-slide and the Cobra are possible.
When the aircraft is in flight, the pilot has many options at his fingertips. He won't enter into any fatal spins or pull too many G's because of the highly sophisticated quadruplex fly-by-wire remote control system (designated EDSU by Russians) with built-in angle of attack and G limiters. The pilot has a sophisticated weapons control system using a RLPK27 coherent pulse-Doppler jam proof radar with track while scan and look-down shoot-down capabilities. The radar detection range is 240 km, and it can simultaneously track up to 10 targets at 185 km away. The pilot can simultaneously fire missiles at two targets. In case of radar failure, the pilot is backed up by a 36sh electro-optical system designed by Geophysica NPO. The electro-optical system contains a laser range finder (which has a range of 8km) and Infrared Search and Track system (which as a range of 50km). The electro-optical system can be attached to the pilot's helmet mounted target designator to allow the pilot to target by moving his head.