One of the first prototypes of the T-10 can be found in the Air Force Museum of the Moscow region town of Monino. Soon after the first flight tests of the new machine, it became clear that the layout solutions found in the late 1960s were outdated, and the airframe of the jet must be completely redesigned.
The redesign resulted in emergence of the usual appearance of the aircraft, launched in serial production in 1984 in modifications of the Su-27P and Su-27S, differing in the composition of the equipment. The photo shows the Su-27P fighter of the Lipetsk Combat Training and Retraining Centre of the Air Force of Russia.
The Centre in Lipetsk is engaged in improving the tactics of front-line aircraft in combat use, including the Su-27 family, allowing to maintain the qualifications of pilots and commanders at the proper level.
Serial production of the two-seat modification of the Su-27UB was launched in Irkutsk in 1986. In the aftermath, this version became the predecessor of Su-30. In the photo: Su-27UB of the Russian Knights aerobatic team during the rehearsal of the opening ceremony of the 2015 International Military Games.
In the mid-2000s, the original Su-27 underwent major modernisation. First of all, engineers improved the jet’s equipment, allowing the aircraft to use high-precision weapons "air-to-surface". In the photo: one of the first combat Su-27 of the 22nd Fighter Aviation Regiment at the Central Corner airbase in Vladivostok, released in the mid-1980s and modernised in the second half of the 2000s.
In the early 1980s, then-newest Su-27 was selected as the basis for a prospective deck fighter aircraft of the Soviet Navy. Unfortunately, the collapse of the USSR put an end to the Soviet carrier programme, but the Su-33 continues to take off from the deck of the Admiral Kuznetsov cruiser.
The mid-1980s saw the beginning of development of a modernised version of Su-27, which was entitled Su-27M. The new aircraft, which had a distinctly characteristic "winglets" on its anterior horizontal tail, was launched in the 1990s in a small series under the Su-35 index, but the military spending collapsed with the fall of the USSR, leaving the Su-35 unfinished.
Loud commercial success came to the T-10 family in the early 1990s with the contract for the delivery of Su-27SK cars to China, but the real star hour of the aircraft came a few years later when the Irkutsk plant created the Su-30MK, the variants of which were supplied (and are still supplied today) to India, Malaysia and Algeria. In the photo: Su-30MK during the demonstration flight at the MAKS-2007 airshow in Zhukovsky.
Russia’s far-eastern Komsomolsk-on-Amur launched its own version of Su-30, which featured slightly simplified equipment and a lower price. Machines of this family were delivered to China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Uganda, Venezuela etc. In the photo: the Su-30M fighter at the MAKS-2001 airshow.
In the late 2000s, with the increase in military expenditures, the Russian Air Force began purchasing Su-30s. In the photo: a Su-30M2 fighter during exercises at the Tsentralnaya Uglovaya airdrome in Vladivostok.
Following the purchase of Su-30M2, the Russian Air Force began to receive the Su-30SM fighters with all the required improvements, including thrust-controlled engines and new radars with passive phased antennas. In the photo: Su-30SM jet of the pilot group "Russian Knights" at the rehearsal the Victory Day air show, April 2017. On May 9, unfortunately, the air parade was canceled due to bad weather.
In the 2000s, in addition to modernisation programs for the Su-27 combat aircraft, another project was launched, which resulted in the appearance of a new airplane with the Su-35BM index (meaning ‘Big Modernisation’). It entered the series for the Russian Air Force in the 2010s as the Su-35S. The aircraft received a large number of new equipment, including 117C engines with increased traction, a powerful H035 Irbis radar and new weapons.
Su-35S is now considered as a transitional point between the fourth-generation machines and the perspective aviation complex of the front-line aviation (PAK FA), which is currently being tested. Serial production of the Su-35S continues for both the Russian Air Force and for export.
Forty years ago, in May 1977, a T-10-1 plane rose into the skies of Moscow region for the first time. T-10-1 was the first prototype of Soviet newest fourth generation aircraft. Seven years later, after passing serious redesign, the new fighter jet was launched in serial production under the Su-27 index, becoming a patriarch of one of the most ramified families in the history of military aviation. Today, fighter jets based on T-10 platform remain the best-selling heavy jets in the world.