In 1989, pursuant to the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and the Central Committee of the CPSU at the machine-building plant them. Sukhoi began the process of developing the conceptual design of a multifunctional fighter-bomber, which received the original designation Su-37. This aircraft was supposed to replace the fleet of tactical attack aircraft as part of the USSR Air Force and Warsaw Pact countries: Su-7, Su-17, Su-20, Su-22, Su-25, and also MiG-21, MiG-23 , MiG-27. In addition, the aircraft was planned to be delivered to Finland, China, India, Yugoslavia, North Korea and a number of other countries.
The new aircraft was designed to destroy ground (as well as surface) mobile armored and unarmored targets, small and area small targets, air defense systems, reconnaissance in simple and difficult weather conditions at any time of the day. In addition, the aircraft could be used to combat enemy strike and transport aircraft, it could successfully withstand the army and tactical aviation enemy, including tactical combat aircraft and anti-tank helicopters.
The expected high level of Su-37 flight performance was the basis for ensuring its survivability and effectiveness over the battlefield. A rather large weight of the combat load, short landing and take-off distances, the possibility of basing on unpaved and damaged runways, as well as sufficient maneuverability made the Su-37 very successful and effective strike aircraft.
The cross section of the Su-37 fuselage and its wing have been optimized for use at low altitudes. The maximum speed of the car at low altitudes was estimated at 1 500 km / h. Cruising speed and range to a target at low altitude should have exceeded similar figures for Soviet fighters in service and belonging to the 4 generation. At the same time, the low specific fuel consumption provided the aircraft with a long range without the need to refuel the car in the air. At the same time the possibility of this procedure was provided. The calculated combat radius of the Su-37 with a combat load at the level of 3-x tons was supposed to be - 1 500 km. The estimated approach speed was 250-260 km / h, and the speed of the aircraft at the time of touching the strip was estimated at 220 km / h.
The main version of the Su-37 for the needs of the Soviet Air Force was to be the strike aircraft, which would have changed the Su-25 attack aircraft. With the new takeoff weight increased by 40%, the 88% could carry more combat load than the replaced Su-25. But since the Su-25 attack aircraft could still meet their purpose and successfully solve combat missions, while the USSR was already experiencing significant economic difficulties, it was decided to carry out such a replacement in 5-8 years.
As a result, OKB them. Sukhoi never received a monetary allocation for the creation of a prototype Su-37 due to limitations in the USSR state budget. Proceeding from this, the main direction was the promotion of the aircraft to the international market. An option was considered in which the creation of the Su-37 was envisaged in cooperation with states with less developed aviation industry. Such a solution would allow partners to obtain a specialized or multi-purpose aircraft based on the Su-37 relatively cheaply.
The Soviet program to create a new Su-37 strike aircraft seemed to anticipate a similar American JSF program. The main purpose of the Su-37 was to be the destruction of ground highly protected targets. To solve this problem, the Su-37 was planned to be equipped with a wide range of air-to-surface weapons. The total mass of the combat load, which could be placed on 18 points of the outer suspension, should have been 8,5 tons. At the same time, the new aircraft should have been able to solve fighter missions, moreover, both in a maneuverable melee and in relatively long-range combat using guided missiles. This was ensured by the incorporation of a short-range and medium-range air-to-air missile into its armament. In addition, the Su-37 was planned to be equipped with a rapid-fire automatic cannon.
Close enough Su-37 came to the JSF and its flight performance. Both aircraft should have been able to provide supersonic flight speeds, however, with a moderate number M (1,8 for Su-37 and 1,6 for JSF) and without performing a cruise flight in supersonic. Both aircraft had a normal take-off weight of 20 tons (18 tons for Su-37 and 17 tons for JSF) and were equipped with an 1 engine. With a combat load at the level of 4 tons, the calculated radii of the machines exceeded 1000 km.
The only fundamental difference between the two cars was their technical appearance. The planes had a different approach to ensuring objectivity in combat conditions. In the American JSF, high objectivity should have been ensured through the integrated use of stealth technologies, while at Su-37 this issue should have been resolved due to the high combat survivability of the entire machine as a whole. On this basis, the mass of means that were supposed to ensure the combat survivability of the Su-37 reached 1,3 tons (more than 7% of the total take-off mass).
The final decision on the implementation of the Su-37 strike aircraft project was made in 1990. By that time, all the necessary documentation for the new aircraft was sent to the serial plant. The assurance that the “process started” became the basis for the reduced Su-1991 model to be demonstrated at 37 at the international aviation exhibition in Dubai.
However, the advertising campaign of the new single-engine aircraft ended as quickly as it began. Initially, even the events of August 1991, were not perceived in production as related to the fate of the project. The creators were so confident in their offspring. But nevertheless, the collapse of the USSR, the cessation of funding for work, the liquidation of Minaviaprom and other events of the beginning of the 90-s did their dirty work. The development of the Su-37 strike aircraft was not only suspended, it was forgotten.
The design of the Su-37
According to its design, the Su-37 aircraft was made according to the aerodynamic "duck" scheme and had a triangular wing with a fracture along the leading edge. Close to the wing was located front horizontal tail of the machine. Selected OKB them. The dry aerodynamic layout of the new aircraft was close to that used on modern European fighters Gripen, Rafale, Eurofighter. At the same time, in the aerodynamic layout of the car, the noticeable influence of the Su-27 interceptor fighter was felt, which was reflected in the strong integration of the middle part of the aircraft fuselage with its sufficiently developed wing.
The maximum take-off weight of the vehicle was 25 000 kg, including 8 000 kg. combat load. The aircraft glider could withstand operational overloads + 9 / -3g. At subsonic speeds, the plane could maneuver during congestion to 8g. The front horizontal tail (GIP) possessed controllable surfaces that could deviate at angles from + 10 to -70 degrees. The wing of the aircraft was supplied with slats and ailerons.
Much of the design of the Su-37 strike aircraft was carried out to increase its survivability. First of all, it concerned the reduction of the tail IR signatures of the engine, as well as the partial use of stealth technology. The use of new technologies in the design of the aircraft, as well as the presence of defensive systems weaponsmade it difficult for the enemy to detect the car. To enhance the aircraft’s passive protection, the pilot’s cockpit was armored, and the vital components and structural elements of the engine, fuel system and airframe were also covered with armor. The fuel tanks of the aircraft were protected by polyurethane foam plastic, which prevented the burning and explosion of fuel in contact with projectile or debris. The total weight of passive protection elements exceeded 0,8 tons. The ability to store the Su-37 aircraft on relatively small platforms (the span of the folded wing was 8,1 m) and the use of the machine from unpaved runways could also significantly increase the survivability of the strike aircraft in combat conditions.
Systems and equipment
The plane was planned to equip with remote control. The structure of the flight-navigation complex of the aircraft was to include a new radar, which was supposed to provide the vehicle, even in the conditions of tough electronic warfare:
- ground attack and surface targets;
- tracking simultaneously 10 various targets;
- mode of flying over obstacles with transonic speed at low altitudes;
- detection, maintenance and subsequent destruction of low-flying targets in the entire range of flight speeds, as well as the destruction of stationary-hanging helicopters that are rather difficult to detect.
The optoelectronic system used on the Su-37 was to ensure the use of the machine at any time of the day or night, as well as launching missiles equipped with laser and thermal imaging guidance systems, including ATGM. A multichannel infrared system (similar to the FLIR western design) could be installed in a special hanging container and made it possible to hit targets with infrared control at a distance of 10-15 km. Equipment for infrared, TV and photo reconnaissance could also be installed in the outboard containers.
It was planned to equip the Su-37 strike aircraft with the development of the design bureau for them. Tumanskogo, possessing at sea level, in 18 500 kgf. In addition, the question of equipping a fighter-bomber with two engines was considered. The air intakes of the engines are under the influxes of the leading edge of the wing, which end at the nose of the fuselage under the pilot's cabin.
The plane was planned to equip 18 points of the external suspension, which allowed him to carry up to 8 500 kg. combat load. According to this indicator, the Soviet aircraft surpassed the American attack aircraft A-10. This combat load and today seems to be more than impressive. In addition to the 30-mm automatic cannon, the aircraft could be equipped with a very wide range of weapons:
- Air-to-surface air defense missiles and anti-radar missiles
- SD air-to-air class of short and medium range
- ATGM to combat enemy armored vehicles
- NUR caliber 85-370 mm.
- All types of free-fall and adjustable bombs weighing up to 1 500 kg.
Flight performance of the Su-37:
Dimensions: wing span - 12,08 m. (Folded - 8,1 m), fighter length - 17,65 m., Height - 5,74 m.
Wing area - 50,0 square. m
Aircraft normal take-off weight - 18 000 kg., Maximum take-off - 25 000 kg.
Fuel stock - 8 300 l.
Engine type - 1 TRDDF, thrust - 18 500 kgf.
Maximum ground speed is 1 500 km / h, at height - 1 900 km / h
Practical range - 1 500 km. (3000 kg. Load)
Practical ceiling - 17 000 m.
Crew - 1 man.
Armament: suspension points 18, maximum combat load - 8 500 kg.