Chinese purchase of Su-35


Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
The Su-34 can carry a centerline drop tank. As can the J-15. I am not sure about other Flanker types.
all Flankers should be able to carry drop tanks if they have a "plumbed hard point" , and there's no reason NOT plumb at least two hard points for fuel tanks....

Now, the Flanker has substantial "internal fuel" which is always going to be the best place to carry your fuel, less drag, less CG shift... but if you have more than sufficient "mission fuel" internally with reserve?? why on earth would you add a couple of heavy, draggy external tanks??? answer, you wouldn't, that's why we don't see "drop tanks" on Flankers....

They do Not carry internal weapons except for the canon, but they do carry lots of internal fuel......

In addition the J-20 has been designed around this same principle, carrying mission fuel internally in sufficient quantities, but nobody seems to having a little "spaz attack" about that... do they???
 
Last edited:

mys_721tx

Junior Member
Registered Member
all Flankers should be able to carry drop tanks if they have a "plumbed hard point" , and there's no reason NOT plumb at least two hard points for fuel tanks....

Now, the Flanker has substantial "internal fuel" which is always going to be the best place to carry your fuel, less drag, less CG shift... but if you have more than sufficient "mission fuel" internally with reserve?? why on earth would you add a couple of heavy, draggy external tanks??? answer, you wouldn't, that's why we don't see "drop tanks" on Flankers....

They do Not carry internal weapons except for the canon, but they do carry lots of internal fuel......

In addition the J-20 has been designed around this same principle, carrying mission fuel internally in sufficient quantities, but nobody seems to having a little "spaz attack" about that... do they???
Drop tanks are the exception, not the norm. For all those years, Flankers (other than Su-34/35) are rarely, if not never, sighted with any drop tank. So far, I can only find photos of Su-34 with central drop tank. If anyone has photo of Su-35's drop tank it would be appreciated. It's very likely that the central hard points on Su-33 and J-15 are plumbed due to the need of buddy refueling. But again, there is no picture of them carrying drop tanks, only picture of the refueling pod.

The following is a summary from what I can find on
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
(I could not find a better source):
Su-27 normally carry about 5t fuel in the body and leave the wing tank empty. The full capacity is 9.4t but only in some cases can it be topped off. Su-27 does not have any plumbed hard point and was not designed to carry drop tank. Sukhoi experimented with conformal tank on early Su-30 design but it never went anywhere. Although Su-34's internal fuel capacity has increased to 12t, it cannot reach 4000km ferry range on internal fuel Due to the increase in weight. To address that, Su-34 carries three 3000L drop tanks.
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
Flankers were NOT designed to carry drop tanks. Su27, Su30, Su33 did not feature any plumbing to use drop tanks. Su33 does have the plumbing for the centerline buddy refueling pod though. So in theory, it could require least testing and integration effort to have a centerline drop tank retrofitted to it.

Su-35 was initially advertised as being design to use drop tanks. (2000 L tanks) BUT to date there has never been a single image published with Su35 actually carrying drop tanks. In all likelihood, such tests never happened. Now, does that mean that Su-35 has the plumbing but the integration tests were never performed OR that the requirement altogether was deleted and that Su-35 didn't even get the plumbing - we don't know. No way of knowing.

Su-34 is the only member of the russian flanker family that was designed for tanks, was tested with them and carries them operationally, when needed. Again, allegedly the underwing points were designed but to date there's never been an image of su-34 with underwing tanks. (allegedly 2000 L ones) But, what has been seen is the large centerline tank, a 3000L one. Its use is quite normal for Su-34.
 

plawolf

Brigadier
I would advise a little caution in reading too much into this first excerise involving the Su35.

After all, as I recall, the J11Bs also fared poorly in their first wargames, and it was not until later games, after their pilots became more familiar with the avionics and capacities of the new plane and systems did they start winning golden helmets.

As such, I think it prudent to wait for at least one or two more exercises before drawing firm conclusions about the capabilities of the Su35.
 

Deino

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
I believe the SU-35S are also plumbed for externals as well but I have to admit it is extremely rare to see a Flanker with tanks certainly not the older variant SU27s etc.
Pardon to interrupt, but "it is extremely rare" is either a dramatic understatement or even wrong ... as @Totoro already noted, I know not a single image showing a Flanker of any variant (besides the Su-34) with a tank.
 

Gloire_bb

Junior Member
Registered Member
What do you mean? It is well known as operational even already within several brigades and given that we know batch 04 aircraft being delivered there are well more than 100 operational.
Upd: my bad. I've got confused in-between j-11d, j-15 and j-16 with their internal mods.
 

Top