At the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget this week’s greatest interest was not airliners of Airbus or Boeing Co., but a Russian fighter, writes The Wall Street Journal. 

The new Su-35 flew across the sky, in its first shown outside Russia and performing maneuvers, the performance of which only a very few Western planes are capable of.

“The plane caries a new missiles and a defense system, which – for the first time in many years in the Russian aviation – are able to compete with those that have been produced in the West,” – said Daniel Michaels.

“I think it shows that we are firmly holding the position as a world leader,” – said Mikhail Pogosyan, head of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the holding company formed in 2006 for the consolidation and modernization of the Russian aircraft industry. Pogosyan said that the UAC is willing to sell only one hundred of the Su-35 outside of Russia.

The majority of Russian products on display are upgraded versions of the old Soviet models. Thus, the Su-35 is one of the successors of Su-27, which made its first flight in 1977. Russian planes are still lacking modern electronics, which can boast its western competitors. In addition, they require more maintenance, which can be costly. But Russian models are reliable, thoroughly tested and are inexpensive.

“You get a lovely view of the plane, which has very good qualities, and pay much less than the western models” – said Francis Roos, editor of the British edition of Defense Analysis.

“They are investing in the development of fighters” and other products, said Chris Raymond, vice president of Boeing’s defense on business development and strategy. According to Raymond, the most likely markets for the Russian aircraft will be the countries that are already using earlier models, such as India and Malaysia, but the global ambitions of Russia are obvious. “I expect that they will make the way to other markets around the world,” – he said.

Here’s a short video from Russia Today:


And, here are a few pictures of this amazing jet:

A Sukhoi Su-35 fighter aircraft takes part in a flying display, during the 50th Paris Air Show, at the Le Bourget airport near Paris. Photo by Pascal Rossignol