S-37 'Berkut', M.Simonov (Sukhoj Bureau)

courtesy of Sergey Andreev

T
he "Berkut" ("Golden Eagle") of 1997 (formerly referenced as S-32) took place of smaller single-engine S-37 project of 1991. It looks like a radical revision of dedicated aircraft line Su-27-Su-37. It has a layout of tandem triplane with forward swept wings and trust-vectoring engine (equipped with digital control system). This combination provides exceptional maneuverability, what in conjunction with elements of stealth technology and new more powerful engines can provide Russia with a superior aircraft for 20th century.
While forward-swept wings are not a best choice for supersonic performance, while provides great advantages at high angles of incidence and in post-stall maneuvering much needed in close-in dogfight, as well as missile evasion. This approach radically differs from USAF concept of stealth, supercruising and beyond visible range (BVR) combat. RAM coating is chosen for stealth contrary to American F-22 radar absorbing structures (RAS).
The tandem triplane scheme was first tried on T-10-24 prototype for Naval Flanker. Canard foreplanes are used on latest Sukhoj Su-34, Su-32FN, Su-35, Su-37, as well as S-37 and Su-54 projects.
There are several riddles surrounding this aircraft.
  • Two tail 'stings' of different length(!) instead of one on Su-27 family.
  • Large auxiliary intakes on the center fuselage section (VTOL engines????).
  • Engine used in flight tests and intended for serial production. WEB sources spin around AL-31F, AL-31FU, AL-41F and D-30F6, the last as the favorite. It seems probable that S-37 was tested with AL-31FU for trust-vectoring system trials and with D-30F6 for high-speed tests.
    High speed taxi trials completed in Summer 1997, and maiden flight took place September 25 at Zhukovsky in hands of Sukhoi's test pilot Igor Votintsev.
    It seems realistic that series fighter will emerge under conventional Su-** designation.
    References:Links:
  • Russian Air Force Faces Cuts To Save Projects. Alexander Velovich. Flight International, 17/09/97, Page 18
  • Coming Down To Earth - Air Force. Douglas Barrie. Flight International, 06/08/97, Page 35
  • Mig Mapo Reveals Light Fighter Project. Alexander Velovich
  • Russia's Fighter Projects Put West In The Shade. Piotr Butowski. Jane's Defence Weekly, 10/09/97, Page 30
  • S-37 links by Roy Cochrun
  • Sukhoj-37 -lovac ispred svog vremena at AeroMagazin (Yugoslavia)
  • S-37 "Berkut" at the Virtual Aircraft Museum
  • AeroWorldNet's S-32: A New Fighter From Sukhoi by Vladimir Karnosov.
  • The evolution of the S-32 configurations. Defend.
  • Venik's S-32 estimates
  • Watson's S-37 'Berkut'
  • Technical data
    Type S-37
    Function MFI prototype
    Year 1997
    Crew 1
    Engines 2* D-30F6 or
    2*14500kg AL-31FU
    Length 22.6m
    Wingspan 16.7m
    Wing area -
    Empty weight 24000kg
    Loaded weight -
    Wing load -
    Power load -
    Speed at 0m 1400km/h
    Speed at 2500km/h
    Turn time -
    Landing Speed -
    Landing Roll -
    Takeoff Roll -
    Range 3300km
    Ceiling 18000m
    Climb
    1000m -
    3000m -
    Armament
    Guns ?
    Hardpoints 14: 2 on wingtips
    6-8 underwing
    6-4 conformal underfuselage
    Bombs KAB-500/1500
    Rockets (AA) R-77; R-77PD; R-73; K-74
    Rockets (AS) X-29T; X-29L; X-59M; X-31P/A
    Modified January 25, 1998
    by Alexandre Savine
    and Sergey V. Andreev;
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