Sukhoi SU-27 vs F-22 Raptor: The F-22 Raptor, an American marvel of engineering, and the SU-27 Flanker, a Russian powerhouse, represent the epitome of aerial technology for their respective nations. Their comparisons are not only about technological advancements but also serve as a symbol of the Cold War rivalry that lingers in the background.
In this blog, we will delve into the fascinating world of aerial warfare, as we explore the design, capabilities, and the sheer prowess of these two iconic fighter jets. Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast or a military buff, this showdown between the F-22 Raptor and the SU-27 Flanker is sure to captivate your imagination and ignite your passion for these aerial marvels. Let’s embark on a journey to understand the strengths and weaknesses of these aircraft, and perhaps gain some insight into the age-old debate of which one truly rules the skies.
Sukhoi SU-27 vs F-22 Raptor
Design and Development:
SU-27 Flanker: The Sukhoi SU-27 Flanker is a product of Soviet-era engineering and was developed in the 1970s as a response to the evolving needs of the Soviet Air Force. Its design emphasizes aerodynamic agility and the ability to operate in diverse environments. The SU-27 features a twin-engine layout, a large wing area, and an overall rugged design.
F-22 Raptor: The F-22 Raptor, on the other hand, is a more recent addition to the U.S. Air Force’s arsenal, entering service in the early 2000s. It was designed with stealth and situational awareness as top priorities. The F-22’s design includes advanced stealth features, a supercruise capability (the ability to fly at supersonic speeds without afterburners), and a highly maneuverable thrust vectoring system.
Stealth and Radar Capabilities:
SU-27 Flanker: The SU-27 relies on its agility and speed to evade enemy radar and missiles. While it does have some electronic countermeasures, it lacks the advanced stealth features of the F-22. This makes the SU-27 more vulnerable to detection by modern radar systems.
F-22 Raptor: Stealth is a defining feature of the F-22. Its carefully designed shape and advanced materials make it difficult to detect on radar. The F-22 can get closer to its targets without being detected, giving it a significant advantage in a combat scenario.
Avionics and Sensors:
SU-27 Flanker: The SU-27 features a mix of Soviet-era and more modern avionics. Its radar and sensor suite, while capable, are not as advanced as the F-22’s. It can engage multiple targets but with limitations compared to the F-22.
F-22 Raptor: The F-22 is equipped with cutting-edge avionics and sensors, providing unparalleled situational awareness. Its AN/APG-77 AESA radar and electronic warfare capabilities give it a significant edge in target tracking and engagement.
Performance and Maneuverability:
SU-27 Flanker: The SU-27 is known for its exceptional maneuverability and can perform impressive aerobatics. It can outmaneuver most contemporary fighter aircraft, but it does not match the F-22 in terms of overall performance.
F-22 Raptor: The F-22’s combination of speed, stealth, and advanced thrust vectoring allows it to outperform almost any adversary in air-to-air combat. It can engage in supercruise, maintain high speeds, and perform extreme maneuvers while maintaining situational awareness.
Armament and Payload:
SU-27 Flanker: The SU-27 can carry a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions, but it lacks the internal bays for stealthy carriage. Its primary focus is air superiority.
F-22 Raptor: The F-22 has internal bays for munitions, reducing its radar cross-section. It is highly versatile and can engage both air and ground targets with precision.
Cost and Availability:
SU-27 Flanker: The SU-27 is a more cost-effective option compared to the F-22 Raptor. The price is US$30 million per unit. It has been exported to various countries, making it more widely available on the global market.
F-22 Raptor: The F-22 is an expensive and complex aircraft, and it has not been offered for export, making it exclusive to the United States. The Price is US$125 million per aircraft. The limited production run has also impacted its availability.
Range and Endurance:
SU-27 Flanker: The SU-27 has a longer combat radius than the F-22, allowing it to stay on station for extended periods. This can be advantageous in certain scenarios, especially for missions that require loitering.
F-22 Raptor: While the F-22 has shorter combat radius, it can supercruise at high speeds to reach its targets quickly. It relies on its stealth and situational awareness to mitigate the need for extended endurance.
Export and Global Impact:
SU-27 Flanker: The SU-27 has been exported to numerous countries, including China, India, and Vietnam. It has contributed to the global balance of military power and influenced the design of other fighter aircraft.
F-22 Raptor: The F-22 has not been exported, largely due to U.S. restrictions on its advanced technology. As a result, it has not had the same global impact as the SU-27.
Role and Doctrine:
SU-27 Flanker: The SU-27 was designed primarily for air superiority, with a focus on engaging enemy aircraft. Its doctrine emphasizes agility and the ability to defend airspace.
F-22 Raptor: The F-22 was designed with a broader role in mind, capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Its doctrine includes deep strike and electronic warfare capabilities, making it a versatile asset in modern conflicts.
SU-27 Flanker: The SU-27 has seen action in various conflicts, including the Balkans, the Middle East, and ongoing border skirmishes. It has demonstrated its combat effectiveness over several decades.
F-22 Raptor: The F-22 has not seen extensive combat usage due to its limited deployment and the absence of adversaries with comparable capabilities. Its combat record is limited to domestic exercises and training.
Sukhoi SU-27 vs F-22 Raptor Table
|Category||Sukhoi SU-27||F-22 Raptor|
|Manufactured||1985 to Present||2005 to 2011|
|Price||$37 million||$139 million|
|Avionics||Sukhoi Search and Track Radar, OEPS-27 IRST, OEPS-27 electro-optical targeting system||Lockheed F/A-22 Integrated avionics, AN/AAR-56 Missile Launch Detector (MLD)|
|Engine||2x Saturn/Lyulka AL-31F turbofans||2x Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100|
|Power||27,600 pound-force||35,000 pound-force|
|Max Cruise Speed||1546 knots, 2,863 Km/h||1963 knots, 3,635 Km/h|
|Approach Speed (Vref)||129 knots||–|
|Travel Range||1,906 Nautical Miles, 3,530 Kilometers||1,600 Nautical Miles, 2,963 Kilometers|
|Fuel Economy||0.62 nautical mile/gallon, 0.303 kilometers/litre||1.1 nautical mile/gallon, 0.538 kilometers/litre|
|Service Ceiling||62,000 feet||65,000 feet|
|Rate of Climb||54,000 feet/minute, 274.32 meters/second||68,897 feet/minute, 350.00 meters/second|
|Take Off Distance||450 meters, 1,476.36 feet||480 meters, 1,574.78 feet|
|Landing Distance||620 meters, 2,034.10 feet||200 meters, 656.16 feet|
|Max Take Off Weight||30,450 Kg (67,130 lbs)||38,000 Kg (83,775 lbs)|
|Max Landing Weight||21,000 Kg (46,297 lbs)||–|
|Max Payload||4,500 Kg (9,921 lbs)||1,776 Kg (3,915 lbs)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||3,080 gallons, 11,659 liters||2,400 gallons, 9,085 liters|
|Seats – Economy||1 seat||1 seat|
This table provides a clear comparison of various aspects of the Sukhoi SU-27 and the F-22 Raptor, including their specifications, performance, and capabilities.
Size Comparison Table
Here’s a table for the size comparison between the F-22 Raptor and the Sukhoi SU-27:
|Category||F-22 Raptor||Sukhoi SU-27|
|Length||18.9 m (62.0 ft)||21.9 m (72.9 ft)|
|Wingspan||13.6 m (45 ft 0 in)||14.7 m (48.2 ft)|
|Wing Area||78.0 m² (840 sq ft)||62 m² (667 sq ft)|
|Height||5.08 m (16.8 ft)||5.92 m (19 ft 6 in)|
|Weight||19,700 kg (43,500 lb)||16,380 kg (36,100 lb)|
|Power||2 x 153 kN (35k lbf)||2 x 123 kN (27.3k lbf)|
Similarity Between Sukhoi SU-27 and F-22 Raptor
While the Sukhoi SU-27 and the F-22 Raptor are distinct in many ways, there are a few similarities between these two fighter aircraft:
- Air Superiority: Both the SU-27 and F-22 are primarily designed for air superiority missions, meaning they are optimized for engaging and defeating enemy aircraft in aerial combat.
- Twin-Engine Layout: Both aircraft feature a twin-engine layout. Having two engines provides redundancy and enhances the aircraft’s ability to continue operating even if one engine encounters issues.
- Supersonic Speed: Both the SU-27 and the F-22 can fly at supersonic speeds. The F-22, in particular, is capable of supercruise, meaning it can sustain supersonic flight without the use of afterburners, allowing for increased fuel efficiency.
- Versatility: While the primary focus of both aircraft is air superiority, they are designed to be versatile and can carry a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions. This versatility allows them to adapt to different mission requirements.
- Advanced Avionics: Both aircraft are equipped with advanced avionics and sensor systems that provide pilots with situational awareness, target tracking, and enhanced combat capabilities.
- Capability for Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Engagement: The SU-27 and F-22 are equipped to engage targets at beyond visual range using radar-guided and infrared-guided missiles, making them formidable adversaries in modern aerial warfare.
- High Altitude Operations: Both aircraft are capable of operating at high altitudes, with service ceilings well above 60,000 feet. This allows them to gain tactical advantages in various combat scenarios.
- Modernization: Over the years, both the SU-27 and F-22 have undergone modernization efforts to keep them relevant and competitive in a changing threat environment. These modernization programs enhance their capabilities and extend their operational lifespans.
In this detailed comparison, we’ve seen that the SU-27 Flanker and F-22 Raptor are impressive fighter jets, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The SU-27 excels in maneuverability and has been a proven platform for decades. In contrast, the F-22 Raptor boasts advanced stealth, superior avionics, and unmatched situational awareness. The SU-27 is known for its maneuverability and cost-effectiveness, while the F-22 excels in stealth, avionics, and situational awareness.
The choice between these aircraft depends on the specific mission and operational needs, and they are often compared in the context of the technology and tactics of the nations employing them. These two aircraft represent the culmination of their respective countries’ aerospace capabilities, making them fascinating subjects for aviation enthusiasts and military strategists alike.