Yes, i would like to see it as a tech tree vehicle.
Yes, i would like to see it as a premium vehicle.
Yes, i would like to see it as an event vehicle.
No, i would not like to see it appearing in the Japan tech tree.
The Su-27 was first debut on 1989 Paris Air Show, and immediately impress the West with it Cobra maneuver. Japan were among one of the countries that start to spark interest in the aircraft after it debut.
After the Soviet Union collapse, there was a prospect of cooperating with Russia on multiple fields. Most important of all for today’s topic, Military. Earliest news i could found about Japan starting to commit to getting the Su-27 was in May 1996 when during a recent visit to Russia, several officials, including Japan Defense chief Hideo Usui visited the Kubinka Air Base and reportedly talked about acquiring Su-27 or MiG-29 with Russian officials after they have met earlier.(1),(2),(3)
Several months later, specifically on August 1996, there are news that Japan were expect to be able to sent pilots to train with the Su-27 in Russia soon.(4). On September 1996, there is a report about the JASDF asking for funds to be able to perform evaluation of the Su-27 (5). Then, in 1998, two reports appearing about Japan wanting to either get two Su-27 for evaluation, or sent two pilots on a 1 month program to Russia to directly trained on it.(6).They eventually settled on sending pilots to Russia.(7). Then, in 1999, another report appeared, stating that Japan again want to sent another two pilots on a two months program to train on the Su-27. It also goes on to state that Japan has done something similar in February 1997, but the pilots were never allowed to board the plane .(8). Since (8) never mentioned the 1998 trainings that (7) mentioned, i wonder if this is just due to mistakes archiving info, or no one ever report on the 1997 exchange, or that the 1997 trainings never existed. I would appreciate if someone can help me with the nitty gritty details regarding this.
Full picture of the (8) link, since it required you to sign up to read it.
However, Japan eventually give up on acquiring the Su-27 due to unknown reasons, some speculated the reasons are due to the logistical difficulties of acquiring such foreign to the usual Japan logistics or they only acquired a very small amount of aircrafts suppose to intended for the JASDF aggressor squadron or problems regarding the plane construction or perfomance.(8)
An interview with Mikhail A. Bogozian of the Sukhoi Design Bureau by the Nikkei Sangyo Newspaper in August 2000 (9) stated that they are willing to go through with the deal when the statement that the JASDF is interested in the Su-27 is brought up. Though the numbers of acquired plane have to reached the prerequisite amount of 12 planes. This seem to indicate Japan has intended to acquired less than 12 aircraft, which seem to led to negotiation into dead ends and ultimately Japan abandon the deal. It seem at least 2-4 or more pilots have been sent to Russia to familiarize themselves with the Su-27 before the deal is abandoned some times in the early 2000s.
With Sweden having T-80U and Mi-28 premiums in the tech tree based on them evaluating the vehicle, i think Japan should get the same treatment as Sweden, as Japan had their pilots actually flew the aircraft. This would draw more players into the Japan tech tree, which dont have much players playing it to begin with. Beside, with the versions i would proposed below, i believe it will complement Japan top tier air tree in one way or another without having to relied too much on things like the F-16AJ or multiple variants of the same plane like the F-15J MSIP, F-15J MSIP second upgrade,… (Thats not to say i believe those shouldnt be add into the game, I just think the Su-27 will offer something unique to the rest of the vehicles in the tech tree.)
Now, which variant Japan could get you might ask?
First proposal: Su-27SK, Su-27UBK or Su-27PU
Su-27SK General characteristics
Length: 21.9 m (71 ft 10 in)
Wingspan: 14.7 m (48 ft 3 in)
Height: 5.92 m (19 ft 5 in)
Wing area: 62 m2 (670 sq ft)
Empty weight: 16,380 kg (36,112 lb)
Gross weight: 23,430 kg (51,654 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 30,450 kg (67,131 lb)
Fuel capacity: 9,400 kg (20,723.5 lb) internal
Powerplant: 2 × Saturn AL-31F afterburning turbofan engines, 75.22 kN (16,910 lbf) thrust each dry, 122.6 kN (27,600 lbf) with afterburner
Maximum speed: 2,500 km/h (1,600 mph, 1,300 kn) / M2.35 at altitude
1,400 km/h (870 mph; 760 kn) / M1.13 at sea level
Range: 3,530 km (2,190 mi, 1,910 nmi) At altitude
1,340 km (830 mi; 720 nmi) at sea level
Service ceiling: 19,000 m (62,000 ft)
g limits: +9
Rate of climb: 300 m/s (59,000 ft/min)
Wing loading: 377.9 kg/m2 (77.4 lb/sq ft) With 56% fuel
444.61 kg/m2 (91.1 lb/sq ft)
Thrust/weight: 1.07 with 56% internal fuel; 0.91 with full fuel
Su-27PU and Su-27UBK general characteristic
First picture for reference to stats.
During the 1990s, both Vietnam and China acquired the Su-27SK and Su-27UBK for uses. With Vietnam later received two Su-27PU in place of two Su-27UBK thats lost to accident while being transported to Vietnam. The Su-27SK and Su-27UBK is comparable performance wise, with the Su-27UBK having a stronger landing gear, additional avionics and two seats as its a trainer aircraft.
The Su-27PU is an interceptor version based upon the Su-27UBK that is intent to act as an support to other aircrafts like the MiG-31 by providing tactical informations, kinda like an AWACS. It does not differ much from the original Su-27SK, beside that it received a CRT display, an upgraded N001 radar, potentially the N001P that allow it to allow it to shoot it missiles at two targets simultaneously as opposed to just one like on the N001E that is installed on the Su-27SK and Su-27UBK.(13) (14)(15)
China on the other hand have ordered three batch of Su-27SK and and Su-27UBK. All the planes in the second and third batch is said to have it radar upgrade from the N001E radar to the N001P radar that allow it to shoot it missiles at two targets simultaneously as opposed to just one like on the N001E.
The N001P radar doesn’t have the capabilities to use air to ground guided munitions nor the ability to use R-77 active radar homing missile.
In my opinion, the Su-27PU and the Su-27SK and Su-27UBK with N001P radar would likely complement the Japan top tier tech tree F-15J with R-27 and it multiple variants as Japan wait for it more advanced aircraft with much more capable weapons like AAM-4 to come. Though this would let Japan waiting even longer for guided munitions and early active radar homing missiles, as Japan is only known to operate later AIM-120C5 and C6 variant.
Second proposal: Su-27KI/Su-27SKM (which is also my favorite)
In 1996, Indonesia placed an order for US F-16A/B Block 15, but later having to cancel it due to US placing an embargo on it for Indonesia occupation of East Timo, Indonesia start to express interest and intended to place an order for Su-30K in 1997.(16) Russia has get a “China upgraded kit” Su-27SK, keeping it OLS (optical landing system) and in-air refueling probe, and modified it to show to Indonesia as a demonstrator. After the failed bid with Indonesia, they show the demonstrator aircraft to many more countries to no avail.
It is said that the Su-30K radar is the N011 Bars/OLS-30. While i cant find which weapons is compatible with this radar, it is said that for air-to-surface mode, the N011 has five air-to-ground modes and four maritime modes, including ground mapping, terrain-following radar and terrain-avoidance modes. The maximum air-to-surface mode is over 200 km against an aircraft carrier type of target.(13)(18) I would assume this allow the aircraft to use certain kinds of early Russian guided air to ground weapons like the KAB-500Kr, KAB-500-OD, and one KAB-1500Kr TV-homing bombs. Since the Su-27KI demonstrator is supposed to show what the Su-30K can do, i would assume they upgrade the aircraft with some kind of radar that allow it to use guided air to ground weapons.
It should be note that there are up to two SMK designation use for the plane, one uses before the KI modification and one use after the KI modification. These two are completely unrelated in anyway. (17)
The N011 Bars is incapable of using R-77.
On 2002, the aircraft was upgrade into the Su-27SMK, with supposingly better air to ground capabilities and air to air missiles. This aircraft was first shown on MAKS 2003 expo and Indonesia eventually acquired a few of these aircraft in the late 2000s. It is said that the aircraft is equipped with the N001VEP radar, that allow it to uses an assortment of better weapons. This include the R-77 and R-73 alongside KH-31 anti-radiation missiles and many more.
For flight characteristic, the only one i could find is the Su-27SKM characteristic. But i would assume the Su-27KI to have not much difference to the Su-27SK, if at all on flight characteristic.
2 х AL-31F|
2 х 12500|
Wing span, m|
Max takeoff weight, kg|
Max payload, kg|
Max internal fuel capacity, kg|
Max sea-level speed, km/h|
Max Mach number|
Service ceiling, m|
Flight range at the cruising altitude, km:|
Run with the normal takeoff weight, m|
Roll with the drag chute deployed, m|
Personally, i think the Su-27KI/Su-27SMK would be a better choice for Japan, as both would provide either guided air to ground ordinance, intermediate active radar homing missiles or both of them to Japan, which Japan would sorely lack until the F-2 arrival. Beside that, perhaps the most interesting of all is the fact that JASDF used to had an Aggressor F-15J which boast an almost identical camouflage to the Su-27KI/Su-27SMK.
I would like to elaborate on my own proposal.
I said no at the first poll.
Ultimately, i think whether whichever variant Gaijin decided to add into War Thunder, i think it would complement some aspect that Japan is lacking and help bring more attention of new players into the Japan tech tree. I prefer the Su-27KI and Su-27SKM being added into the tech tree, but what are your thoughts on this? Do let me know. I would also appreciate if anyone can come forward with informations that would help add in more info on the topic, or help correct mistake i have made during the gathering of sources for this topic.