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The Sukhoi Su-35 (Russian: Сухой Су-35; NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) is the designation for two improved derivatives of the Su-27 air-defence fighter. They are single-seat, twin-engine, supermaneuverable aircraft, designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and built by the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant. The first variant was designed during the 1980s as an improvement on the Su-27 and was known as the Su-27M. This derivative incorporated canards and a multi-function radar that transformed the aircraft into a multi-role aircraft, which was structurally reinforced to cope with its greater weight. The first prototype made its maiden flight in June 1988. As the aircraft was not mass-produced due to the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Sukhoi re-designated the aircraft as Su-35 to attract export orders. The fourteen aircraft produced were used for tests and demonstrations; one example had thrust-vectoring engines and the resultant Su-37 was used as a technology demonstrator. A sole Su-35UB two-seat trainer was also built in the late 1990s that resembled the Su-30MK family. In 2003, Sukhoi embarked on a second modernization of the Su-27 to serve as an interim aircraft awaiting the development of the Sukhoi PAK FA (Su-57) program. Also known as Su-35, this version has a redesigned cockpit and weapons-control system compared to the Su-27M and features thrust-vectoring engines in place of the canards. The type made its first flight in February 2008; although the aircraft was designed for export, the Russian Air Force in 2009 became the launch customer of the aircraft, with the production version called Su-35S. The Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force and the Indonesian Air Force have also ordered the aircraft.
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In 1996, Russia submitted the Su-27M and Su-37 for South Korea's F-X programme, which sought a 40-aircraft replacement for the Republic of Korea Air Force's F-4D/Es, RF-4Cs and F-5E/Fs. The two Russian designs competed against the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, and F-15K Slam Eagle. Sukhoi proposed a design which featured a phased-grid radar and thrust-vectoring engines, and offered full technology transfer as well as final assembly in South Korea. The US$5 billion contract would have been partially financed through a debt-reduction deal on money Russia owed to South Korea. However, the Su-27M was eliminated early in the competition, which was won by the F-15K. A country that had been reported to be a likely early export customer for the modernized Su-35 was Venezuela. The Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez in July 2006 placed an order for 24 Su-30MK2s to replace its fleet of F-16s that were subjected to a US arms embargo. The aircraft were delivered to the Venezuelan Air Force from 2006 to 2008. The country was expected to follow up with a second order for the same type, or make a purchase of the Su-35. Despite subsequent reports that the Venezuelan government were interested in the aircraft and had placed an order for the Su-35, the country was negotiating with Russia in 2016 for the Su-30 aircraft instead. Libya was also expected to be an early export customer for twelve to fifteen Su-35s along with other Russian weapons; however, the civil war in Libya and the resulting military intervention cancelled such plans. Russia has also offered the modernized Su-35 to India, Malaysia, and Greece; no firm contracts have materialised, with the first two countries having been occupied with other fighter projects and unlikely to procure the modernized Su-35.
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