The Su-35 and F-35 are modern fighter planes developed for different missions and flown by separate countries. While the two aircraft have similarities, they also have numerous important differences.
The Russian-built Su-35 is a fighter aircraft developed for air superiority operations. It is a highly manoeuvrable aircraft outfitted with cutting-edge avionics and weaponry, including a strong radar system and various air-to-air missiles. It can reach Mach 2.25 and range up to 3,600 km.
The F-35, on the other hand, is a multirole fighter plane intended for the US and its allies. It can carry out air-to-air, air-to-ground, and electronic warfare operations. It has advanced stealth technology, a powerful sensor suite, and various advanced armament systems. It can reach Mach 1.6 and range up to 2,200 km.
The Su-35 outperforms the F-35 in terms of speed and range, while the F-35 outperforms in terms of stealth and superior sensor technology. In addition, the Su-35 is more manoeuvrable than the F-35, designed for stealth and sensor capabilities.
The Su-35 is generally less expensive than the F-35 in terms of both procurement and maintenance expenditures. The F-35, on the other hand, is intended to be highly modular and adaptable, with a single platform that many services and countries can utilise.
The Su-35 and F-35 are advanced fighter aircraft developed for specific tasks and operational requirements. The choice between the two would be determined by the country’s or military’s specific demands and priorities.
The Su-35 is a fighter aircraft built for high-manoeuvrability tasks. It has an aerodynamic design with a heavily swept wing that produces great lift and manoeuvrability at high angles of attack. The aircraft also has thrust-vectoring engines, which allow the pilot to change the direction of the engine thrust and improve manoeuvrability.
The F-35, on the other hand, is a multirole fighter aircraft capable of air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, and electronic warfare. Its aerodynamic design has a stealthy profile with a small radar cross-section, making it difficult for adversary radar systems to detect. The aircraft also has cutting-edge control technology that provides fine control and stability in various flight modes.
The Su-35 is optimised for high-speed, high-manoeuvrability flight, whereas the F-35 is optimised for stealth and reliable flying characteristics throughout various flight situations. The Su-35’s steeply swept wing and thrust vectoring engines give it a significant advantage in high-G turns and manoeuvrability. Simultaneously, the F-35’s superior control system and stealthy design enable aircraft to avoid detection and engage targets from long distances.
Overall, the Su-35 and F-35 have differing aerodynamic designs tailored to their individual duties and operational requirements, and both are highly sophisticated and capable aircraft in their respective roles.
Su-35 Sensor Suite
Sukhoi Su-35 is a multirole fighter plane designed by Russia’s Sukhoi Aviation Company. Its sensor package is intended to give the pilot situational awareness, target acquisition, and missile guiding capabilities.
The Su-35 is outfitted with a powerful N011M Bars phased-array radar capable of detecting and tracking numerous targets at ranges of up to 400 km. The radar can also provide ground mapping to the pilot and detect small, low-flying threats.
The EOTS comprises an infrared search and track (IRST) system and a laser rangefinder/designator. The IRST can detect and track objects while emitting no radar signals, making it difficult to detect. The laser rangefinder/designator can offer precise range information and be used to mark targets for laser-guided weaponry.
The electronic warfare suite of the Su-35 is equipped with various sensors and jammers, which allow it to detect and destroy an adversary’s radar and communications systems.
The Su-35’s cockpit features many big, high-resolution monitors that give the pilot a good view of the aircraft’s systems and surroundings. Targeting information and weapon status can also be displayed on the displays.
The Su-35’s helmet-mounted display system displays a virtual reality view of the outside world, including targeting information and other data, to the pilot.
Overall, the sensor suite aboard the Su-35 is intended to give the pilot a high level of situational awareness and the ability to engage several targets simultaneously in both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.
F-35 Sensor suite
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a fifth-generation multirole fighter aircraft with one of the world’s most modern sensor suites, with numerous sensors working together to offer the pilot a full perspective of the battlefield.
The F-35 has an advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system that can detect and track objects at great ranges while providing the pilot with a high-resolution image of the surrounding area. In low-visibility conditions, the radar can also track ground targets and offer situational awareness.
The electro-optical targeting system (EOTS) is a high-resolution infrared sensor that gives the pilot a clear picture of the surroundings, even in low-visibility conditions. The EOTS can also give targeting information for air-to-ground weapons.
The Distributed Aperture System (DAS) is a network of six infrared cameras mounted around the aircraft that gives the pilot a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. The DAS is also capable of tracking and engaging targets with air-to-air missiles.
The F-35’s electronic warfare suite includes many sensors and jammers for detecting and disrupting enemy radar and communications systems.
The F-35 cockpit features a huge, high-resolution monitor that gives the pilot a good view of the aircraft’s systems and surroundings. The display can also display targeting data and weapon status.
The F-35’s helmet-mounted display system displays a virtual reality view of the outside world, including targeting information and other data, to the pilot.
Overall, the sensor suite aboard the F-35 is intended to provide the pilot with a comprehensive picture of the battlefield and the ability to engage several targets simultaneously in both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Many sensors improve situational awareness and survivability in complex combat conditions.
Su-35 Weapons Suite
The Su-35 can carry various air-to-air missiles, including the long-range R-37M, medium-range R-77, and short-range R-73. These missiles can engage targets at various ranges and altitudes and can be guided by the radar or IRST system of the Su-35.
The Su-35 can carry numerous air-to-ground missiles, including the Kh-29, Kh-38, and Kh-59. These missiles can engage several ground targets, including armoured vehicles, ships, and structures.
The Su-35 is capable of carrying a variety of guided bombs, including the KAB-500Kr and KAB-1500Kr. These bombs can be guided by either the laser rangefinder/designator or the radar of the Su-35.
The Su-35 can also carry a range of unguided bombs, including the FAB-250 and FAB-500. These bombs are dropped in free fall and rely on their explosive force to cause damage.
The Su-35 is armed with a 30mm GSh-30-1 gun capable of firing up to 1,500 rounds per minute. The cannon can engage several targets, including other aircraft, ground vehicles, and structures.
F-35 Weapons Suite
The F-35 can carry several air-to-air missiles, including the long-range AIM-120 AMRAAM, the medium-range AIM-9X Sidewinder, and the short-range AIM-132 ASRAAM. These missiles can engage targets at varied ranges and altitudes and be guided by the F-35’s sensors.
The F-35 can carry a variety of air-to-ground missiles, including the AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW), AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), and the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM). These missiles can engage several ground targets, including armoured vehicles, structures, and radar stations.
The F-35 can carry a variety of guided bombs, including the GBU-12 Paveway II, GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), and GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) (SDB). These bombs can be guided by the F-35’s targeting system and can be used to hit various ground targets.
The F-35 is equipped with a 25mm GAU-22/A cannon, which can fire up to 3,300 rounds per minute. The cannon can engage several targets, including other aircraft, ground vehicles, and structures.
Combat in the Air
The outcome of an air combat scenario between the Su-35 and F-35 is difficult to predict because it would depend on several elements, such as the pilots’ tactics and skill, the exact conditions of the engagement, and the weapons systems and avionics of each aircraft.
In a fictitious air warfare scenario, the Su-35’s better speed and manoeuvrability may give it an advantage in some situations, such as a dogfight or close-range confrontation. The powerful radar system and air-to-air missiles of the Su-35 could also threaten the F-35, which depends primarily on stealth to avoid detection and engage targets from a distance.
On the other hand, the superior sensor suite and electronic warfare capabilities of the F-35 offer it an advantage in a more complex encounter, such as a multi-aircraft conflict. The F-35’s ability to detect and engage targets at long range could allow it to engage the Su-35 from a safe distance, reducing the Su-35’s speed and manoeuvrability advantage.
The F-35 will fly as quietly as possible without fully utilising its radars, and the AWACS aircraft or satellites will lead the way. In such a case, “foreseeing” will be on the side of American aircraft, giving them a better chance of detecting the Su-35 first.
No AIM-120Ds or European Meteors are included in the standard F-35 combat arsenal. The F-35 lacks long-range, short- and medium-range missiles, unlike the Su-35, which carries the R-37. Even if the F-35 can see its enemy, it cannot act until a certain point. Su-35’s EW systems will play a role if F-35 manages to shoot at the Su-35. Nonetheless, if the Su-35 discovers the F-35, the F-35 will have a small escape window.
Ultimately, the outcome of an air combat engagement between the Su-35 and F-35 would depend on various factors and be impossible to forecast with certainty. Both aircraft have advantages and disadvantages, and the outcome will be determined by how each aircraft is used and how effectively their respective pilots are educated and equipped.
Air to the ground role
Due to its sophisticated sensor suite and weapons built for ground assault missions, the F-35 would have an advantage over the Su-35 in an air-to-ground battle.
The F-35 is outfitted with various modern sensors, including a highly advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS), allowing it to detect and track ground targets with pinpoint accuracy. It also boasts advanced weapon systems like GPS-guided bombs and missiles and advanced air-to-ground missiles such as the Joint Strike Missile.
While it can carry air-to-ground weaponry, the Su-35 is primarily built for air superiority operations and has a less advanced sensor suite than the F-35. The Kh-31P missile, a radar-seeking missile designed to attack ground-based radar systems, is its primary air-to-ground weapon.
Overall, the F-35 would have a significant edge over the Su-35 in an air-to-ground operation due to its improved sensor suite and powerful missile systems for ground strike missions.
Nonetheless, the success of an air-to-ground battle would be determined by several factors, including the precise mission objectives of the target region, topography, and defences, as well as the effectiveness of each aircraft’s weaponry and tactics.
The Su-35 and F-35 feature different aerodynamic designs optimised for their unique tasks and operational requirements.