Sukhoi Su-33 FLANKER D

Sukhoi 33

The Sukhoi Su-33 (Flanker-D) is a carrier-based fighter
derived from the Su-27 (Flanker-B)

Pocket Rocket

Externally it is very similar to the Su-27s (FLANKER B) apart from the addition of 2 canard fins to increase maneuverability at low speeds.
On an aircraft carrier, you definitely need an aircraft to be easier to maneuver, so the wings of the Su-33 can be folded and the tail cone has been shortened.

Admiral Kuznetsov with some SU-33s

Back in the 70s, the Yak-38 was the only operational carrier-based fixed-wing combat aircraft,
but due to limited range and payload, the Soviet Navy found to be unable to undertake its role.
So it was decided to develop a bigger and more potent airplane capable of operating STOL aircraft.
The Su-33 was chosen for the only Russian aircraft carrier: the Admiral Kuznetsov.

Full Thrust

The first flight test from a simulated ramp was made in August 1982, with the Alpha prototype: the T-10s.
To take off from an aircraft carrier, a new prototype was built: the T-10k.
Many changes have been made: the addition of canard, stop hook, aircraft carrier landing systems, and retractable flight refueling probe.

Even though the Kuznetsov has no CATOBAR, all these changes allow the SU-33, thanks to its Ljul’ka AL-31F engines, to take off from the ski-jump.

Go Vertical

Be a Fleet Defense Fighter means to intercepting and killing low-level anti-ship and air missiles,
using the R-27em missiles (specially developed for this) in conjunction with the Ka-31 electronic surveillance helicopters.
Currently, the Su-33 can use only dumb bombs and UB rocket blocks.

Eighteen Su-33s were built between 1992 and 1993, but the orders were canceled due to
the abandonment of the production of the other Soviet aircraft carrier (fall of the USSR)
By 2015, the Su-33 was starting to getting old, most having been build just 4 years after the end of the USSR,
and they didn’t receive many upgrades in between those years,
so they were left doing the job they were initially designed to do: Fleet Defense Fighter. 

Author: David