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Su-47 Berkut Eperimental Jet Fighter

Su-47 Berkut Eperimental Jet Fighter

The experimental Sukhoi Su-47 and its swept-forward wing design…

The Su-47 is one-pilot experimental jet fighter designed and built Sukhoi Aviation Corporation, Russia. Once designated as the S-37 Berkut or Golden Eagle, the Su-47’s most distinguishing feature is its swept-forward wing design. Operated by the Russian Air Force, the Su-47 made its maiden flight on 25th September, 1997, and was officially introduced in January 2000.

Although the Su-47 never made it to production, some of the technologies include in the craft were also used in two swept-back winged fighters; the SU-35BM, a long range multi-fighter; and the Sukhoi PAK FA, a twin engine jet fighter.

su-47 - s-37 berkut

Su-47 (S-37 Berkut Golden Eagle)

Image Credit: Megapixie, Oct 2006.

The swept-forward wing design of the Su-47 has a reduced radar signature and allows for high maneuverability at subsonic speeds, it also retains much of this agility in supersonic flight. The nose radome is flattened to optimize the craft’s anti-spin characteristics, and the ailerons – the wing’s control surfaces – remain effective at the highest angles of attack, further increasing the craft’s stability. Aside from the swept-forward wing, many of the components used to build the Su-47 came from the Su-27 0 – a 1970-80’s Soviet jet fighter.

With such agility, the Su-47 and its high turn rate makes it a difficult target and formidable opponent in the skies.

su-47 - s-37 berkut-2

Sukhoi Su-47 Experimental Jet Fighter

Image Credit: Jno, 2006.

When compared with the traditional swept-back wing configuration, the unusual swept-forward wing provides several advantages including:

  • Higher lift to drag ratio;
  • Higher capacity in dogfight maneuvers;
  • Higher range at subsonic speed;
  • Improved stall resistance and anti-spin characteristics;
  • Improved stability at high angles of attack;
  • A lower minimum flight speed;
  • A shorter take-off and landing distance.

The wing panels of the Su-47 are constructed from 90% composite materials, tithe airframe mainly of aluminum, titanium alloys, and 13% composite materials.

sukhoi su-47

Sukhoi Su-47

The Su-47 experimental fighter aircraft can be fitted with R-77, R-77PD, R-73, K-74 air to air missiles, or X-29T, X-29L, X-59M, X-31P, X-31A, KAB-500, KAB-1500 air-to-surface missile at it 14 hardpoints (2 wingtip, 6–8 underwing, 6-4 conformal underfuselage). It can also be armed with one 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon with 150 rounds.

The cockpit has been designed with comfort in mind. The side-mounted, low-travel control stick and a tensometric throttle control, as well as all other controls are positioned for easy access, even whilst performing high g-load maneuvers. It also sports advanced fly-by-wire technology and a variable geometry adaptive ejection seat which inclines at an angle of 60 degrees to reduce the impact of G forces on the pilot.

Image Credit: Luke Roberts, 2006.

The Su47 is powered by 2 Perm Aviadvigatel D-30F6 turboshaft engines – an engine typically used in short-haul passenger planes – each producing around 83.4kN of dry thrust. Such power enables the craft to cruise at speeds of up to 1,800km/h, climb at a rate of 233m/s and travel for a distance of 1,782nm (3,300km). Maximum altitude of the fighter is 18,000m.

Related Posts:


  1. Su-47 (S-37 Berkut) Experimental Fighter Aircraft, Russia. Air Force Technology, 2008.
  2. Capt.: If Looks Could Kill – The Sukhoi SU-47 Berkut. Future Weapon Technology, 02/08/2008.
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