Amazing aerobatics in Moscow

This is the aerial display by the Sukhoi Su-35 fighter at the MAKS 2017 air show in Moscow, Russia, last week.  The aircraft has very powerful engines, giving a thrust-to-weight ratio much better than 1:1, and also boasts thrust vectoring nozzles, allowing it to use engine thrust to augment its already impressive maneuverability.  Its agility puts most other aircraft in its class to shame.

Watch the video in full-screen mode for best results.

(EDITED TO ADD:  The first video I embedded was taken down.  Here’s another, of the same display.)

I’d say the Su-35 is probably the best kinetic-energy dogfighting aircraft out there today . . . although that’s not necessarily a war-winning attribute, in an age of stealth technology, long-range air-to-air missiles and active electronically-scanned radar arrays.  Nevertheless, if it comes down to knife-fighting range in future aerial combat, the Su-35 would seem to have a great many advantages.



  1. Holy Mackaral! Some of our RC aircraft guys can hang a plane by it's prop and hover it – they are black magic sorcerers and flat out aces. I don't THINK any of our jet guys can stand a bird on it's thrusters and hover it like that… The power to weight ratio on that bird must be incredible…

  2. I suspect that in future wars, or 'near wars', which are more likely, stealth and Beyond-Visual-Range capabilities will rarely be used, so close in dog fighting skills will be more important than discussed in the West today.
    Why? Because there is such a focus on 'collateral damage' and avoiding civilian casualties in unclear or heavily populated war zones that a fighter (or UAV, when we get there) will need to verify the identity of their target as well as its location and maybe even what it will fall on before firing.

    As far as I know, current technology does not allow for identification of aircraft type with certainty from long range (I could be mistaken), and even if it did, the use of propaganda and lawfare means that the target will still need to be verified before firing – with easily distributed documentation because our enemies will claim innocence no matter what the situation.

    Because of these, for aerial warfare, and increasingly ground warfare, long range and stealth capabilities will not make a difference because they won't be used for political reasons.
    If a war with a near peer adversary begins, it is likely they will use any and all means of fighting at their disposal and Western militaries, particularly the US military, won't.

  3. Jonathan,

    I suspect that the BVR problem will also be solved by drones. Specifically, small, stealthy semi-autonomous support drones that will flock around a manned combat aircraft. These could independently get closer to a potential target, check it out with a camera or paint it with an imaging radar, and possibly carry one or two short range air-to-air and/or air-to-ground missiles. Put a flock of eight around an F-35 or F-22, linked so the manned aircraft could use those drone weapons and sensors as easily as if were on the aircraft itself, and that's a game changer. Even an awesome maneuvering fourth generation fighter wouldn't have a chance up close if he's swarmed by three or four support drones with "keep the bad man away from momma bird" in their little drone brains.

    On the other hand, when ground or ship based laser anti-air/anti-missile systems come about, goodbye to clear weather combat flying, and might as well scrap the supercarriers. We might see a renaissance of the battleship again.

  4. Tirno,
    I've worked with close to the latest and greatest in unmanned aircraft – and let me tell you; just like with 'green' energy, reality does NOT add up to the hype!
    Swarming unmanned aircraft is in its infancy for very basic tasks, aerial combat is a pipe dream and will be for a long time, and very few designs have any hope of keeping up with a jet aircraft, let alone one of the few models with supercruise capability.
    Note: oddly enough, the only unmanned aircraft that CAN keep up with a jet were fielded in the 60's and 70's!
    Laser systems will still have to be able to see the target and pick it out from clutter such as clouds, rains storms, waves, mountains, etc and they STILL won't be able to identify targets with the certainty and reliability that will be demanded in future wars – which is my whole point; given how much furor there has been with unmanned missile strikes in the middle east in recent years, target identity and limiting collateral damage is going to become more important, as will 'man in the loop' features.
    Most people don't realize that effective fielded unmanned aircraft so far require MORE support staff than the manned aircraft they replace AND they have lower reliability; losses and major repairs are much higher than with modern manned aircraft.

  5. The video is already unavailable.


    I expect the Submarine to become the next capital ship.

  6. I've replaced the video link with another, which is working at the time of writing. Let's hope this one stays up!

  7. Wow! Just watched it. Impressive abilities. I'm thinking it would make an interesting opponent/target for a Harrier. Any Harrier pilots want to comment?

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