As the only prototype of the Su-47 experimental aircraft research program, this aircraft made its final appearance from MAKS 2007, and after 12 years, many thought that Su -47 has been to the museum or scrap.

Su-47 Berkut review on Dung Tran Military channel

Introduce

On August 27, 2019, at the MAKS International Air Show 2019 on the outskirts of Moscow, with the presence of 800 aviation companies from around the world. This was also an opportunity for Russia to display the latest aviation products or military and civilian projects that are about to be deployed in the future.

Notably, this exhibition unexpectedly has the appearance of Su-47 Berkut, a fighter considered to be the most unique in the world, manufactured by the Soviet Union, but not in mass production.

As the only prototype of the Su-47 experimental aircraft research program, this aircraft made its final appearance from MAKS 2007, and after 12 years, many thought that Su -47 has been to the museum or scrap.

The appearance of the Su-47 at the MAKS 2019 surprised many people. Experts believe that Russia is conducting research and development of an aircraft similar to the Su-47 in the future.

As a military superpower with ambitious weapons projects, the Soviet Union used to own many very unique and preeminent fighter. However, not all aircraft can fly around the world, the Su-47 is one of them.

Su-47 Berkut
Su-47 Berkut

Background

According to the Aviations Militaires, the idea of ​​the Su-47 was inspired by a Nazi bomber prototype called Junkers Ju 287, captured by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. This aircraft led Soviet engineers to consider designing a fighter with strange wings.

In 1983, the Soviet leader decided to launch a project of forward-swept wing fighter. The program was conducted by OKB Sukhoi aviation research center.

To disguise, Sukhoi’s ambitious project was designated as S-32 and later S-37, leaving competitors confusing between Sukhoi’s various fighter jet programs.

According to calculations by Soviet experts, compared to traditional swept wings, the forward-swept wing design provides the advantage of lift, high maneuverability at low speeds, as well as the short take off and landing ability. These are the factors that help the air force absolute dominance in dog fights.

However, just a few years after the project was launched, the Soviet Union disintegrated, leaving the budget for this project completely cut off. Recognizing the advantages of this type of fighter, Sukhoi determined to use its own budget to continue developing the Su-47 fighter.

In September 1997, the experimental version, designated S-37, made the first flight. In 2002, the Russian Air Force decided to change the name of the aircraft to Su-47 Berkut, also known as the Golden Eagle.

Su-47 Berkut
Su-47 Berkut

Design

Theoretically, forward sweep geometrically creates increased angle of incidence of the outer wing sections when the wing bends under load. The wings experience higher bending moments, leading to a tendency for the wings to fail structurally at lower speeds than for a straight or aft-swept wing.

Su-47 used composite materials, which were carefully treated to resist torque to eliminate the weakness in the lift distribution on the wing, while still allowing it to hold superior aerodynamic features. In addition, it was equipped with sophisticated fly-by-wire control systems.

The Su-47 is about the same size as previous Sukhoi fighters, such as the Su-35. It has a length of 22.6m (74 ft 2 in), a wingspan of 16.7m (54 ft 9 in), a height of 6.4m (21 ft 0 in), a gross weight of 25.6 tons (56,593 lb) while a maximum take-off weight of 34 tons (74,957 lb).

To reduce development costs, the Su-47 borrowed designs from the Su-27 family, including the forward fuselage, outward-canted vertical tail fins, and landing gear. Nonetheless, the aircraft includes an internal weapons bay, and space set aside for an advanced radar.

The cockpit, not much different from the Su-27, is located behind the short nose, providing a great vision experience for the pilot. The main wings, the most special part of the fighter, instead of sweeping back like traditional, it swept forward. The canards ahead of wings to increase controllability and lift. Two air intakes are located on either side of the wing roots, below the cockpit. Jet engines are arranged side by side on the rear.

Su-47 Berkut
Su-47 Berkut

Performance

The Su-47 is powered by two Aviadvigatel PS-30F6 afterburning turbofan engines, providing 93.1 kN (20,900 lbf) thrust each. With afterburner, it can generate thrust of 153 kN (34,000 lbf).

Theoretically, the Su-47 can reach a maximum speed of 2,200 km/h (1,400 mph) at altitude, equivalent to Mach 2.21. Its range can reach 3,300 km (2,100 mi), the service ceiling is 18,000m (59,000 ft), the Rate of climb is 233 m/s (45,900 ft/min).

The Su-47 has extremely high agility at subsonic speeds, enabling the aircraft to alter its angle of attack and its flight path very quickly while retaining maneuverability in supersonic flight.

However, despite having up to 90% of components made of composite materials, the wings of the Su-47 still have the potential to break if flying at high-speed. Besides, the engines are not strong enough for the Su-47 to be able to super cruise without the afterburner. Therefore, the Su-47 was limited to Mach 1.6.

Limited in technology and expensive prices in the context of the Russian economy’s difficulties made the Su-47 not be mass produced. Berkut is one of the aircraft models that make the Russians most regret.

The sole aircraft produced served as a technology demonstrator prototype for a number of advanced technologies later used in the 4.5 generation fighter Su-35 and current fifth-generation jet fighter Su-57.

Experts say that with the continuous development of technology, Russia today has the opportunity to restart the Su-47 project. If stealth technology is applied, the Su-47 could create a new race in the field of combat fighters.

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