Russia is preparing to test the next-generation Su-35S fighters for the first time in combat in Syria, a military source told a Russian newspaper on Monday.
“The General Staff has decided to run a field test of the brand-new Su-35S in Syria for the first time ever,” the Kommersant newspaper cited its source as saying.
According to information obtained by the outlet, the first four jets were handed over to the Russian Aerospace Forces last fall. Several days ago, they were transported through Iran and Iraq to the Russian airbase in Hmeymim near Latakia in northwestern Syria.
The Su-35S is a 4++ generation one-seater, which is an upgraded version of the Su-27 multirole fighter. Russia aims to modernize its military hardware by 2020 as part of a large-scale overhaul of its armed forces.
The plane is characterized by supermaneuverability and has features of a 5 generation aircraft.
In mid-January, two multirole Su-35S fighter jets have entered into service in the Primorsky Territory in Russia’s Eastern Military District, the Pacific Fleet said.
“Pilots have retrained for new combat aircraft… After the pilots’ report to the commander of the fighter regiment completing the task, a ceremony to receive the new equipment was held directly on the airfield,” the fleet said in a statement.
The fighter regiment is planned to fully replace the Su-27SM with its 4++ generation successor, the Su-35S, classified by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as Flanker-E.
The air regiment in the Primorsky Territory received its first batch of Su-30M2s Flanker-H air superiority fighters in late 2014, and three advanced MiG-31BM Foxhound interceptors by the end of 2015.
Russia is undergoing a large-scale program to modernize its military hardware by 2020. (; © Photo: JSC-Sukhoi)