They have one heaven for two. One way and one task - sweep from heaven Aviation the enemy. They are fighters, gaining superiority in the air. Winged combat vehicles from the "first line", the elite of modern combat aircraft. Their complexity is incredible, and the possibilities are endless. They have too many advantages, but no shortcomings. They are strong and beautiful in their inexhaustible heavenly rage. Eternal rivals - Su-27 and F-15.
Who are you, funny cowboy?
His birth is associated with the war in Vietnam. The results of the meetings with the Soviet MiGs demanded to change the entire previous paradigm of development of the American fighter aircraft. The Air Force urgently needed a highly maneuverable "MiG killer", equally effective both in close combat and at medium and long distances. Outstanding radioelectronic "filling" should be enclosed in a no less perfect shell. The American designers boldly made a step towards the new, fourth generation of fighters.
The first flight of the "Eagle" took place in 1972 year. Four years later, the F-15 Eagle was adopted. By now, these legendary air fighters have won 104 air victories - without a single defeat! "Unbreakable" angels of death, which can only be defeated by American weapons. The Eagle was shot down only once - in 1995, the Japanese Air Force F-15 was mistakenly shot down with the same F-15.
In the official reports on the results of the combat use of the Eagle, other fables are also described. According to the Yankees themselves, the level of control over the airspace of Iraq during the Gulf War "had no historical precedent." Similar happened eight years later - the Eagles tightly closed the sky over the Balkans.
But why among the dozens of trophies "Eagle" there is not a single aircraft equal to him? Not a single “Eurofighter Typhoon” or “Dassault Rafal”?
The most notable trophies are the nine lightweight MiG-29 in a simplified export version. All other F-15 victories were won over the obsolete second-third generation aircraft: the French Mirage F-1, the Soviet Su-22 (export versions Su-17), MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25 ...
Why do Americans always fight with the aircraft of the previous generation? Is there some terrible secret about this? It is necessary to deal with this.
And here came the main competitor of the "Eagle". Meet the gentlemen - the multi-purpose, highly maneuverable fighter of the fourth generation Su-27.
Who are you, the mysterious Russian warrior?
A daring response to the West at the end of the Cold War.
At the turn of 70 — 80-s, an aviation masterpiece was created in our country, designed to overshadow the American Eagle. The idea was completely successful: the domestic fighter of the 4 generation set new standards in the field of combat aircraft.
The design team of the Sukhoi Design Bureau succeeded in finding a number of interesting decisions related to the layout and aerodynamics of the future aircraft.
Su-27 fanciful silhouette is not similar to any of the foreign fighters. The graceful bend of the nose of the fuselage, a smooth transition into the wing, protruding engine nacelles - all this is a consequence integral layout aircraft, in which the lifting force is formed not only by the planes of the wing, but also due to the special shape of the fuselage!
A huge contribution was made by specialists in aerodynamics - the real geniuses of their work. As a result, despite the similar value of the load on the wing (≈300 kg / sq. M), the coefficient of lift “Drying” is one and a half times higher than that of the American “Eagle”, and the maximum aerodynamic quality (ratio of lift to frontal resistance) reached 12 units (such values are found only in passenger airliners). Extremely "flying" design!
The most advanced aerodynamic scheme in the world allowed to create a larger and heavier fighter. The Su-27, in comparison with the “Eagle”, has increased the internal fuel supply, ensured a long range and leveled the cumbersomeness of the domestic REO (Soviet microcircuits are the largest microcircuits in the world!). The elastic “arm” of aerodynamic power was powerfully pulling Su-27 up, despite the large take-off mass of the domestic machine.
Brave representative of the family - Su-35
Engineers have tried a lot, creating a powerful “heart” for a magnificent glider. A family of turbojet AL-31F twin-turbojet aircraft engines with 13 afterburner thrust! High thrust-to-weight ratio (≥ 1) is the key to super-maneuverability and energetic maneuvers in the vertical plane.
According to the established rate of climb, the Su-27 has no equal in the world (over 300 m / s).
Our partners from China still cannot copy the heat-resistant blades of the AL-31F turbine with labyrinths of internal cavities through which the cooling air passes. Apparently, their design turned out to be more complicated than Swiss watches and Japanese electronics.
Finally, something that cannot be seen with the naked eye. The degree of longitudinal static stability of the Su-27 is negative and amounts to 5% of the average aerodynamic chord of the wing (MAR). Of course, we are talking about flying at subsonic speeds.
What does this situation mean?
The longitudinal static stability at the angle of attack is the ability of the aircraft to independently maintain a given angle of attack α and return to the initial value α at random deflection under the action of disturbing forces.
Stability is a pleasant thing in straight flight, but the fighter needs high maneuverability. The higher the stability (measured in% of the MAR) - the greater the loss to balance, worse handling and driving dynamics. To perform any maneuver, it will be necessary to apply a larger control moment, rejecting the control surfaces at a greater angle. Great effort, extra fractions of a second precious time in battle.
The stability of a flying aircraft is determined by the position of the aerodynamic focus (the point of growth of lift when the angle of attack varies) relative to the center of gravity of the aircraft. The Su-27 fighter was designed in such a way that its aerodynamic focus is located ahead of the CG. The plane is every second ready to raise the nose and "tumble" back through the tail. Without the participation of the pilot. It is statically unstable.
This makes the “Drying” surprisingly agile machine, but the negative stability is in contradiction with the requirements of manageability. Rescues electrical control system (Su-27 the first of the domestic combat aircraft was equipped with EDSU). The computer has the correct control factors for each of the flight modes - otherwise, the person would not be able to control the Su-27.
Reasonable question - what happens if an eFSU fails? Despite the inadequate “Drying” reaction to the movements of the control stick (RUS), an experienced pilot will most likely be able to reach the airfield and land the plane. 5% CAX static instability is still tolerable.
But another member of the twenty-seventh family, Su-35, with the failure of EDSU, will write out a couple of somersaults and break for sure. The degree of its static instability is brought to 20% САХ - manual control of the aircraft is excluded. However, the risk of such a situation is negligible - the ESDU of the Su-35 aircraft is made with fourfold (!) Redundancy in the longitudinal channel and threefold in the lateral movement channel.
Integral layout, powerful engines, amazing beauty and efficiency aerodynamic design, static instability ... Next is the Shchel-ZUM assault target designation system, the unique Cobra Pugacheva combat method, RVV-AE air-to-air missiles. After getting acquainted with such facts, the dispute “F-15 vs. Su-27 "loses its meaning. The domestic fighter is much stronger and more perfect than its American peer.
When it was announced that McDonnell Douglas had won, the “sukhovtsy” breathed a sigh of relief: the layout found in the Su-27 looked much more promising. True, there were fears that the Americans, through an open press, slipped their misinformation to their overseas counterparts, while they themselves were making a completely different plane. However, after the official demonstration of the “Needle” prototype in 1972, these fears dissipated: it became clear that the McDonnell Douglas specialists took the simplest and cheapest, but far from the most promising way. As the head of the project department of the OKB Sukhoi, O.S. After the takeoff of YF-15, Samoilovich, TsAGI head G.P. Svishchev told Sukhoi: “Pavel Osipovich! Our backlog has become our advantage. The plane took off, and we know what it is ... "
- Of stories creating fighter Su-27.
Su-30, F-15C and Mirage-2000
The division of fighters into generations is largely arbitrary. Different weight categories, different levels of technological performance, different purposes. It happened that, within the framework of one generation, the 8-ton MiG-21 and the 18-ton Phantom oddly got along (despite the fact that the former relied on short-range air combat using cannon armament, and the latter was hoping for its superradar and medium-range SD). They were united only by the fact that the concept of both turned out to be, on the whole, erroneous.
Often, one generation includes cars, between the creation of which lies a whole temporary and technological gulf. It is believed that the first fighter of the fourth generation was the American deck-mounted interceptor F-14 "Tomcat" (first flight - 1970, adoption - 1974,). He looked good against the background of the “Phantoms”, but after a couple of years it was hopelessly outdated - in fact, he had no noticeable advantages over the F-15, but absolutely lost to the “Eagle” in a close maneuver battle. Result: The Eagles continue to fly to this day, and the last Tomcat was written off eight years ago.
Finally, the upgrade. How in the old joke about craftsmen that they upgraded the TV for a year and then sold it like a vacuum cleaner - how can you compare the first production Su-27 80-s to the modern Su-35 fighters? How many pluses need to be put after the “4” digit to fit these machines within one generation?
The problem is simpler - how similar are the F-15C of the 1980 model of the year and the upgraded F-15C of the beginning of the XXI century? The new version of the radar AN / APG-63 (V) 2 with active phased array, new long-range missiles AIM-120 AMRAAM, new digital electronics - yes, this is actually another aircraft with completely different capabilities!
In order not to delve into this interesting, but endless dispute, we can confine ourselves to one obvious conclusion: the fourth generation of fighters does exist, as a collection of some common ideas. Key development trends are universality, high maneuverability, high-quality and expensive avionics. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to report that the era of the fourth generation stretched out over 40 over and over - the planes of the “early period” were radically different from those that were created later.
Actually, this is the main difference between F-15 and Su-27, which the authors of analytical articles devoted to these heroes rarely pay attention to - “Eagle” older than “Sukhoi” by at least 10 years! As can be seen from the passage of the history of the creation of the Su-27 cited above - when the first F-15 took off, our fighter had not yet left the stage of sketches.
It is often stated that the Su-27 made its first flight on 20 on May 1977 of the year, just five years after the Eagle. But this is slyness - on that day a prototype of the T-10-1 took to the air, which had little to do with what we call the Su-27. Due to the discrepancy between the characteristics of the prototype and the specified values, it was decided to completely redesign the aircraft: the wing profile and shape of the fuselage were changed. Wing area increased from 59 to 62 meters. Ailerons and flaps gave way to flaperons. The brake flap has moved from the bottom surface of the fuselage to the top surface, located behind the cab light. The cockpit lantern itself has changed, the layout of the rear of the aircraft has become another, new suspension units have appeared ...
The new prototype of the fighter received the designation T-10С - according to the figurative expression of the chief designer MP Simonov, on it from the T-10-1 only the tires of the wheels of the main landing gear, and the ejector seat of the pilot remained.
The first flight of the T-10C is April 1981 of the year. At this time, the American F-15 was already fully exported and used in combat operations in the Middle East.
The first batch of serial fighters Su-27 was released in the 1984 year. The first combatant unit that received the Su-27 was the 60-iap at the Dzemgi airfield (Far Eastern Military District) - its pilots began developing the newest aircraft in the 1985 year.
By 1987, the main elements of the Su-27 aviation complex were fully formed — the H001 “Sword” airborne radar was “brought up” and adopted by the P-27 and P-73 missiles. A training Spark Su-27UB appeared in the combat units, which accelerated and simplified the training of personnel. At about the same time, regular Su-27 “meetings” with planes of a potential enemy began — a sensational clash over the Barents Sea with the reconnaissance Orion of the Norwegian Air Force, a dangerous rapprochement with the American fighters during the Tim Spirit exercise (Far East), and so on. d.
Finally, a pure formality - after successfully passing all the tests, by the Decree of the USSR Council of Ministers on 23 August 1990 Su-27 was officially adopted by the Air Force and Air Defense of the Soviet Union.
The harsh truth is that by the time the Su-27 appeared, the American Eagle was already outdated.
The McDonnell-Douglas designers were ahead of their time by building a superfighter in 1976, which had no worthy opponents for 10 years. This explains the large number of second-third generation fighters shot down by the Eagles.
MiG-23 (start of operation - 1969, modification of MiG-23ML - 1974), MiG-25 (start of operation - 1970 year) ... F-15 crumbled all of their peers.
The balance of power in the air changed only with the advent of the Su-27.
F-15D, trying to pursue the Su-27, lost sight of him and in despair asked the observer: “Where is Flanker?” (Flanker is the code name of Su-27 in NATO). “He is behind you,” answered the slave. The described "air combat" did not receive any coverage in the Western press.
- Visit Su-27 to Langley airbase. USA, 1992 year.
Flying years, epochs are changing ... Two years before the events described at Langley airbase, the YF-22 - the prototype of the fifth-generation American fighter - took off. At about the same time, TsAGI defended the conceptual design and layout of the aircraft, which received the designation MFI (multifunctional front-line fighter). The following features of a promising fighter were voiced: "stealth", "super-maneuverability", "unmanned supersonic" and other very familiar terms.
What came out of all this is a topic for another story.