|Function||Trainer, ASW, fighter|
|Wing Load (kg/m2)||?|
Two-seat trainer/strike (KUB stays for Korabelnyj Uchebno-Boevoj, Navy Training/Combat) version of the Su-27K (Su-33) naval deck fighter. Trainer features general "integral triplane layout" of latest Sukhoi aircraft. It has side-by-side cocpit similar to the Su-34 strike aircraft, but has a 'round' nose of its naval predecessor. Su-27KUB also has completely new larger (by 1/3) wing, providing 15...20% range increace and low landing speed. Another wing novelty is its automatic 'adaptation' to the flight condition via flaps and slats fine adjustment.
Side-by-side arrangement for trainer was chosen to provide the naval pilots with the "feeling of a friend's elbow" and to reduce the workload on the crew (according to Sukhoi general designer Mikhail Simonov). It also will reduce workload during combat missions, where the pilot sits "elbow-to-elbow" with a weapons officer.
Maiden flight was performed successfully on April 29 1999 by KBtest pilots Victor Pugachev and Sergei Melnikov at the controls. Reportedly, the flight lasted for about an hour and was performed from the aerodrome of Gromov's Flight Test and Research Institute (LII) in Zhukovsky near Moscow.
Aircraft has typical for Su-27 family infrared seeker and (probably) same N°11 multifunctional radar as Su-30MK and Su-35. Despite no details revealed, it seems quite probable that Su-27KUB will carry strike equipment (Sea Snake aiming complex and other systems developed for the Su-34), efficient against sea-going targets and submarines.
In all likelihood, the Su-27KUB will be built in small numbers, several dozen units at maximum. This would be more than just enough for the Russian Navy, which has only one operational carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, commissioned in 1989. Normally, the ship carries 28 Su-33 and Su-25UTG airplanes and 24 Ka-27 helicopters. Foreign orders for the Su-27KUB might come from India and China, the two friendly nations that either operate or intend to operate aircraft carriers.