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Here’s who Washington’s sending arms – Meet Nazi Ukraine’s would be Führer

The commander of Ukraine’s influential Azov battalion extremist militia and an MP, Andriy Biletsky says he’s ready to fight the ‘untermenschen’

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(Oriental Review) – Today’s Ukraine is painfully reminiscent of Germany in the 1920s: poor governance on the heels of a lost war, which – added to the sense of betrayed hopes and the sharp decline in average incomes coupled with rising prices – is all driving a critical mass of the Ukrainian population toward an overwhelming feeling of desperation. A demand from the public for a “strong hand” – a new, authoritarian ruler – is rapidly coalescing, due to their dissatisfaction with President Poroshenko and all the other jokers they’ve been dealt from that shabby deck of political cards.

And a man like that already exists in this destitute and disintegrating country. Andriy Biletsky, the commander of the Azov Battalion who is known to his comrades-in-arms as the “White Führer,” is making an ever-bigger name for himself in the Ukrainian parliament.

He makes no secret of his views – in his 2014 program declaration“Ukrainian racial social nationalism is the core of ideology of ‘Patriot of Ukraine’ organization” he expressed himself quite bluntly: Our nation’s historical mission at this critical juncture is to lead the global White Race in its final crusade for its survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.

He was drawn to Nazi ideology while still a university student. In the early 2000s, while studying in the history department of the National University of Kharkov, he wrote a paper on the activities of the collaborationist Ukrainian Insurgent Army during World War II. Later, as this student of history and amateur boxer put it, “preference was given to the creation, rather than the study of history, and to fighting in the streets instead of in boxing rings.” In the 1990’s and 2000’s, as he moved toward the formation of his own nationalist organizations, such as Patriot of Ukraine (founded jointly with the current chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy) and later the Azov Battalion, Biletsky managed to have a hand in almost every far-right group in Ukraine: the Stepan Bandera Tryzub, the Social-National Party of Ukraine, and Svoboda (Freedom) party. Now he also leads the Social-National Assembly, an umbrella group for a number of racist and neo-Nazi Ukrainian organizations. He himself has claimed to have had first-hand involvement in what are known as direct actions, i.e., military and terrorist operations.

In 1999, together with a group of nationalist “sports fans” from Kharkiv, Biletsky tried to travel to Kosovo to help fight Muslims. In 2001 he participated in the riots in Kiev during the “Ukraine without Kuchma” protest campaign. In 2008 he was involved in clashes with the police during a march to honor the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Between 2008 and 2009 activists from the Patriot of Ukraine organization that was under his direction repeatedly attacked individuals of non-Slavic appearance.

Wounded anti-fascist journalist Sergey Kolesnik, a snapshot of Ukrainian TV report about the incident.
Wounded anti-fascist journalist Sergey Kolesnik, a snapshot of Ukrainian TV report about the incident.

In 2011, Biletsky, along with two other members of Patriot of Ukraine, was arrested and charged with armed assault: on Aug. 23 of that year there was an altercation in that organization’s office with journalist Sergei Kolesnik who was doing a story on their activities. As a result, the reporter ended up in the emergency room with a head injury and lacerations to his chest. The organization claimed the charges had been trumped up and that the detained activists had been the victims of a political witch hunt. They were released in February 2014 after the victory of the Revolution of Dignity, when the Verkhovna Rada adopted resolution No. 4202, On the Release of Political Prisoners. There were 23 people on the list of detainees to be freed, primarily members of Patriot of Ukraine. The author of the bill was the head of the Radical Party, Deputy Oleh Lyashko, who later worked closely with the Azov Battalion.

Immediately after his release, Biletsky was put in charge of the “special operations” of the neo-Nazi organization Right Sector and proceeded with reprisals against “undesirables” – the Ukrainians who objected to the illegal seizure of power in their country. In March 2014 he was responsible for an explosion that blew up a monument and then some attacks on local residents in Kharkov, resulting in the deaths of two people and serious injuries to a law-enforcement officer. In May 2014 he and some of his underlings were involved in the execution of policemen in Mariupol who had refused to use their weapons against civilians.

At that time Biletsky created the Azoz Battalion, an armed, retaliatory unit of activists from racist and neo-Nazi organizations. Its ideology is based on neo-Nazism, aggressive militarism, and flagrant racism. The group employs the Nazi Wolfsangel and Black Sun symbols (“die Schwarze Sonne” – a type of swastika with multiple rays).

Andriy Biletski Azov Ukraine Nazi

In the article “Language and Race: The Primacy of the Question,” found on pg. 28 of his book The Words of the White Führer (in Ukrainian), Biletsky insists on requirements for the racial purity of the “Ukrainian nation” and on the impropriety of “accepting a person of a different bloodline, mentality, or culture into one’s family and nation and allowing one’s own genes to mix with those of a different, inferior breed of people.” “Ukrainian social-nationalism considers the Ukrainian nation to be a society based on a common bloodline and race.” “Race is paramount for the genesis of a nation,” the leader of the organization asserts. “People are naturally born with different abilities and opportunities, and therefore a person’s happiness comes from finding his place in the national hierarchy and in conscientiously carrying out the task that life has assigned him.

"Ukraine, you are the light of Europe! Our nation has sufficient strength to stand up to pressure from outsiders, to purify our land, and to fan the flames of purification throughout Europe!” (Biletsky, The Words of the White Führer, pg. 23)
“Ukraine, you are the light of Europe! Our nation has sufficient strength to stand up to pressure from outsiders, to purify our land, and to fan the flames of purification throughout Europe!” (Biletsky, The Words of the White Führer, pg. 23)

Shortly before the 2014 Verkhovna Rada (parliamentary) elections, when asked whether his views had changed, Biletsky replied: “We remain true to ourselves. Azov’s very soul consists of the right-wing ideology it received as its legacy from Patriot of Ukraine.

Refusing to have his name listed on the ticket of the People’s Frontparty (led by Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk) during the 2014 parliamentary elections, Biletsky strengthened his position as the leader of Ukraine’s Nazis and won a seat in parliament as an independent candidate from one of Kiev’s single-seat districts. In the Verkhovna Rada he is the deputy head of the Committee on National Security and Defense and is ironically a member of a group on inter-parliamentary relations with Georgia, Great Britain, Israel, the US, Poland, and Lithuania.

His alliance with the new government in Kiev has made it possible for the White Führer to “legitimize” his militants and get the state to pay for their upkeep. The Azov Battalion was incorporated into the National Guard of Ukraine, which is under the control of the minister of internal affairs and former governor of the Kharkov region, Arsen Avakov. Back in November 2014, Avakov posted the following on his Facebook page: “The work has begun to bring this regiment up to the combat standards of the National Guard brigades. That also means in terms of weapons and technology. Currently dozens of kids from the Azov Battalion are already being trained at an artillery school, getting the hang of new armored vehicles on the practice ranges, and learning how to coordinate operations with the tank squadron assigned to their regiment.

Andriy Biletsky (C) and Arsen Avakov (R in front) announcing incorporation of Azov battalion into the National Guard of Ukraine, Oct 2014
Andriy Biletsky (C) and Arsen Avakov (R in front) announcing incorporation of Azov battalion into the National Guard of Ukraine, Oct 2014

That was approximately the same time that Azov introduced its youth squad – the Biletsky Youth, also sometimes called Youth of Great Ukraine. It draws teenagers aged 14-18. Members are required to develop themselves physically and mentally, to study the foundations of social-nationalism, and to recognize Andriy Biletsky as their  Führer…

Despite the fact that in June 2015 the US House of Representatives blocked the transfer of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, known as MANPADS, to Ukraine for fear that they might fall into the hands of neo-Nazis from Azov, some European politicians certainly don’t seem to consider him a political “untouchable” – soon after the US bill was approved, Czech MEP Jaromír Štětina invited Biletskiy to visit the European Parliament and share his views (the invitation apparently wasn’t accepted).

In October 2016 Biletsky created his own political party, the National Corps, and announced his readiness to assume responsibility for what was happening in the country. On Feb. 22, 2017, this party, along with Svoboda and Right Sector, held a March of National Dignity in Kiev, which resulted in an ultimatum being issued to the government, as part of which, the nationalists announced the coordination of efforts “to resist the country’s surrender to armed invaders from the East and financial bloodsuckers from the West.” On March 16, these forces, in addition to the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, and the neo-Nazi group C14, signed their National Manifesto. Once you take away the clauses of social-populist demagoguery, that statement mostly boils down to the following:

– looking not to the West nor to the East, but to the formation of a kind of “new European alliance – a Baltic-Black Sea Union

– unleashing an economic, propaganda, and guerrilla war against Russian Crimea

– returning Ukraine to the status of a nuclear power “due to the violation of the Budapest Memorandum”

– nationalizing mineral resources and industry, a total ban on the free sale of agricultural land, and a prohibition on pulling capital out of the country to stash offshore

In this manner, far-right forces in Ukraine have now consolidated and are ready to take action. For the past three years, Biletsky has carefully avoided making any racist statements and has been busy trying to burnish a positive image of himself for his Ukrainian and international audiences. He and his patrons expect the deepening crisis of power in Ukraine and the imminent fall of the Poroshenko regime to provide them with a unique window of opportunity for seizing power. His maniacal hatred of Russia and desire to escalate the armed conflict in the eastern part of the country will likely win him the “benevolent neutrality” of the major Western powers, just as Hitler enjoyed on the eve of his attack on the USSR. And to any impartial observer it is clear that “Weimar Republics” always eventually metamorphose into Reichs.

“The new Ukraine is not a republic or a dictatorship, but a republic AND a dictatorship. Not socialism and nationalism, but national socialism. Not an empire and not democracy, but an empire AND democracy.” (Biletsky, The Words of the White Führer, pg. 20)

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Michael McFaul, what have YOU done to help improve US-Russia relations?

The former US ambassador to Russia has proven to be quite adept at chastising Russia at every turn, even in retirement. But what exactly has McFaul done to create an atmosphere of lasting peace between Moscow and Washington?

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It was the summer of 2013 when I had my first and only encounter with Michael McFaul, then-US Ambassador to Russia. It was a Saturday afternoon, and a black sedan pulled into the parking lot of the prestigious Anglo-American School, a private learning facility located in the outskirts of Moscow where foreign diplomats and corporate executives enroll their kids.

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A burly driver opened the door and into the scorching sun appeared, in all his excellency, Michael McFaul. After exchanging brief pleasantries, the ambassador strolled to the bleachers on the opposite side of the field to await the beginning of a children’s baseball game; a bit of an anticlimactic turn compared to the grand entry. I remember thinking to myself at the time, as he took a seat by himself across the pitch, ‘There goes the loneliest man in the world.’

Sooner than I would have imagined, my impression of the ambassador and his unenviable situation in Russia was confirmed. Several months later, McFaul abruptly resigned from his government post after just two years on the job, returning to the dusty halls of academia from where he had first emerged to work in the Obama administration.

Despite his retirement, and being banned from Russia, McFaul continues to elicit inflammatory opinions on ‘Putin’s Russia’ on a regular basis. Few of these verbal fusillades prove helpful at injecting some semblance of sanity back into the US-Russia relationship.

This week, for example, McFaul went head-to-head against Steven Seagal, the Hollywood actor and martial arts expert who was just appointed as Russia’s ‘special representative on humanitarian relations with the US.’ Seagal’s work includes, among other duties, “promoting bilateral ties in a wide range of fields including culture, art, science, education, sports, public and youth exchanges.”

Considering the basement-level status of the US-Russia relationship, it would seem that any attempt to forge bonds between the two nuclear powers deserves some applause, even if it’s just a polite golf clap. That logic doesn’t apply if you’re Michael McFaul. Following the appointment, McFaul promptly fired up his Twitter account to pedantically slam Seagal for using British spelling as opposed to American while announcing his new post. Our esteemed academic, however, broke the first rule of social-media sparring by failing to ensure that his own tweet was grammatically sound.

In any event, McFaul went on to predict that Seagal would ultimately fail to “achieve any success in improving Russian-American relations,” not only because the Hollywood actor has “almost no influence” in the United States, but because – wait for it – “he has no experience in diplomacy.”

As the attentive reader will recall, the lack of diplomatic credentials was precisely the main argument against McFaul’s two-year stint as US ambassador. Not only was the Stanford professor the first non-career diplomat to serve as US ambassador to Russia, he arrived in Moscow with a rather odd CV, which included a doctorate dissertation devoted to the “theory of revolution in an international context.” To complicate his stay in Russia even more, one of McFaul’s very first orders of business in Moscow was to meet with members of the Russian opposition – and at the very same time street protests and color revolutions were becoming all the rage. How’s that for diplomacy?

The story gets better. Judging by a recent request put forward by Russia’s general prosecutor’s office, in which it specifically named Michael McFaul as a person of interest in the criminal case against Bill Browder, the British financier who is wanted in Russia for illegally moving $1.5 billion out of the country, it would suggest that the ambassador was not limited to just meeting with political agitators. McFaul, however, has denied any wrongdoing.

This was just the later innings, as it were, of what appears to have been a doubleheader the professor was playing. Before being nominated to the position of US ambassador, Michael McFaul was a senior adviser of the Obama administration, where he went on to become the architect of the much-maligned US-Russia ‘Reset.’

You know a program is doomed from the start when not even the US State Department is able to correctly translate the idea into Russian. For a man who is so concerned with proper spelling, you’d think he would have gotten that one right.

Yet it was much more than just poor translating skills that ensured the demise of the ‘Reset;’ the failure was a result of Washington’s absolute refusal to cooperate with Russia on the US missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. Any serious discussion on the US-Russia bilateral relationship is incomplete without mentioning this part of the story.

Initially pledging to “shelve” the brainchild weapon system of the Bush administration (just months after McFaul’s ‘Reset’ is announced in March 2009), the Obama administration shifted gears, telling the world it would opt for a scaled-down version of the system instead, all the while holding out the carrot of cooperation to Moscow.

However, unless the Obama administration committed itself to a real partnership with Russia, McFaul’s ‘Reset’ would have to be interpreted for what it arguably was: an elaborate smokescreen to soften up Moscow into believing the White House had honorable intentions. As events strongly indicate, it did not. Fortunately for Russia, it did not fall for the ruse. It got to work developing ways to balance the military scales that were beginning to dangerously tip due to a US-made weapon system on its very doorstep.

That much was underscored by Vladimir Putin’s recent state of the nation address in which he revealed the introduction of advanced weapon systems that make “obsolete” any missile defense shield in the world. Had the Obama administration not taken a cynical and deceptive approach to its ‘diplomatic’ relations with Russia, as demonstrated by McFaul’s fake ‘Reset,’ the world would not be perched on the precipice of disaster as it is today.

These days, the former US ambassador continues to muddy the bilateral waters, dispatching tirades against Russia via Twitter to his 339,000 followers, many of whom share the same jaded views, which has a tendency to occur whenever ideas are cultivated in an echo chamber.

It may go down as the tragedy of our days that the Obama administration, believing Russia was down for the proverbial count, dispatched to Moscow a non-diplomat at the precise moment when diplomacy between the two nuclear powers was more important than ever. In hindsight, it was a dangerous move on the global chessboard that will have ramifications on international politics for many decades to come. Nevertheless, Russia not only survived the challenge, but it looks quite capable of defending its long-term interests.

It is a regrettable conclusion, but I would argue that Michael McFaul and his colleagues in the Obama administration view Russia’s stunning revival, as witnessed on both the military and economic fronts, as a genuine ‘failure of diplomacy’ on their part. Faced with that sort of cynical, duplicitous approach to Russia, the bilateral relationship needs many more sincere ambassadors of peace, like Steven Seagal, working tirelessly on behalf of friendship between the two countries.

Via RT

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Crimea vs. Afghanistan – Which is More Occupied?

Let’s compare Russia’s “occupation” of Crimea with an occupation that the US is not demanding a swift end to: the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan.

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Both sides of the aisle can agree on this important thing — which has achieved a growing, bi-partisan, academic and popular consensus in the United States during the past four years.

It is this: the second biggest threat to peace on earth and to the global rule of law (right behind either Trump or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, depending on your affiliation) is the 2014 vote by the people of Crimea to re-join Russia.

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Now, the vote by the people of Crimea to re-join Russia has another, more common name: ‘The Seizure of Crimea.’

This infamous seizure is hard to grasp. It involved a grand total of zero casualties. The vote itself has never been re-done. In fact, to my knowledge, not a single believer in the ‘Seizure of Crimea’ has ever advocated for re-doing the vote. Coincidentally, polling has repeatedly found the people of Crimea to be happy with their vote.

I’ve not seen any written or oral statement from Russia threatening war or violence in Crimea. If the threat was implicit, there remains the problem of being unable to find Crimeans who say they felt threatened. If the vote was influenced by the implicit threat, there remains the problem that polls consistently get the same result.

Of course, a U.S.-backed coup had just occurred in Kiev, meaning that Crimea was voting to secede from a coup government. The United States had supported the secession of Kosovo from Serbia in the 1990s despite Serbian opposition.

When Slovakia seceded from Czechoslovakia, the U.S. did not urge any opposition. The U.S. government supports the right of South Sudan to have seceded from Sudan, although violence and chaos reigned. U.S. politicians like Joe Biden and Jane Harman even proposed breaking Iraq up into pieces, as others have proposed for Syria.

But let’s grant for the sake of argument that the Crimean vote was problematic, even horrendous, even criminal. There is no question that Russia had military forces in Crimea and sent in more, something I believe I can non-hypocritically oppose, since I’m not the U.S. government and I advocate for the abolition of the U.S. military.

Even so, how does the “occupation” of Crimea rise to the level of greatest threat to peace on earth?

Compare it to a trillion dollars a year in U.S. military spending, new missiles in Romania and Poland, massive bombing of Iraq and Syria, the destruction of Iraq and Libya, the endless war on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the U.S.-Saudi devastation of Yemen and the creation of famine and disease epidemics, or the explicit threats to attack Iran, not to mention world-leading weapons dealing to dictatorships around the globe by the good old U.S. of A.

I’m sure your average American would rather visit “liberated Mosul” than “annexed Crimea,” but should we deal with facts or slogans?

Let’s take one example of an occupation that the U.S. government is not demanding a swift end to: the U.S./NATO occupation of Afghanistan.

I don’t propose comparing the horrors of the so-called longest U.S. war — as if the wars on Native Americans aren’t real — with World War II or Iraq. I propose comparing them with the people of Crimea voting to make their little piece of land part of Russia again. Which is more barbaric, immoral, illegal, destructive, and traumatic?

Most countries polled in December 2013 by Gallup called the United States the greatest threat to peace in the world (Russia came in as the 12th greatest threat), and Pew found that viewpoint increased in 2017.

Some in the United States seem to share the world’s view of the matter. “The Taliban had surrendered a few months before I arrived in Afghanistan in late 2002,” Rory Fanning tells me, “but that wasn’t good enough for our politicians back home and the generals giving the orders. Our job was to draw people back into the fight. I signed up to prevent another 9/11, but my two tours in Afghanistan made me realize that I was making the world less safe. We know now that a majority of the million or so people who have been killed since 9/11 have been innocent civilians, people with no stake in the game and no reason to fight until, often enough, the U.S. military baited them into it by killing or injuring a family member who more often than not was an innocent bystander.”

Eleanor Levine, active with Code Pink, says, “Afghanistan belongs to the Afghan people, not the USA and not NATO.”

“How would you feel,” she asks, “if Afghanistan occupied the USA? How would you feel if your towns and streets were patrolled by an occupying force? How would you feel if your schools, homes, stores, banks, agriculture and jobs, were controlled by Afghanistan? I am betting you cannot imagine this possibility. But try hard to imagine how it would feel. Try really hard to imagine it because it is the everyday experience of Afghans who want to live life as Afghans and raise their children as Afghans in their own country. Try to think, what have Afghan people done to the USA and NATO to deserve continuous interference and control from afar?”

Here’s my proposal. The people of Afghanistan should hold a public referendum and vote immediately to become the 51st U.S. state. Not only would they then have made themselves seized, conquered, attacked, raped, and occupied in the bad, Russian senses of the terms. But if they sent along some photos of themselves in a note to the U.S. Congress, they’d get U.S. troops out of their country and achieve its total independence from the United States by the following afternoon.

Via DavidSwanson.org

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The Russian Su-35 is the plane the US Air Force should fear

The Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E is the top Russian air-superiority fighter in service today, and represents the pinnacle of fourth-generation jet fighter design. It will remain so until Russia succeeds in bringing its fifth-generation PAK-FA stealth fighter into production.

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The maneuverability of the Su-35 makes it an unsurpassed dogfighter. However, future aerial clashes using the latest missiles (R-77s, Meteors, AIM-120s) could potentially take place over enormous ranges, while even short-range combat may involve all-aspect missiles like the AIM-9X and R-74 that don’t require pointing the aircraft at the target. Nonetheless, the Su-35’s speed (which contributes to a missile’s velocity) and large load-carrying abilities mean it can hold its own in beyond-visual-range combat. Meanwhile, the Flanker-E’s agility and electronic countermeasures may help it evade opposing missiles.

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The Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E is the top Russian air-superiority fighter in service today, and represents the pinnacle of fourth-generation jet fighter design. It will remain so until Russia succeeds in bringing its fifth-generation PAK-FA stealth fighter into production.

Distinguished by its unrivaled maneuverability, most of the Su-35’s electronics and weapons capabilities have caught up with those of Western equivalents, like the F-15 Eagle. But while it may be a deadly adversary to F-15s, Eurofighters and Rafales, the big question mark remains how effectively it can contend with fifth-generation stealth fighters such as the F-22 and F-35.

History

The Su-35 is an evolution of the Su-27 Flanker, a late Cold War design intended to match the F-15 in concept: a heavy twin-engine multirole fighter combining excellent speed and weapons load-out with dogfighting agility.

An Su-27 stunned the audience of the Paris Air Show in 1989 when it demonstrated Pugachev’s Cobra, a maneuver in which the fighter rears its nose up to 120-degree vertical—but continues to soar forward along the plane’s original attitude.

Widely exported, the Flanker has yet to clash with Western fighters, but did see air-to-air combat in Ethiopian service during a border war with Eritrea, scoring four kills against MiG-29s for no loss. It has also been employed on ground attack missions.

The development history of the Su-35 is a bit complicated. An upgraded Flanker with canards (additional small wings on the forward fuselage) called the Su-35 first appeared way back in 1989, but is not the same plane as the current model; only fifteen were produced. Another upgraded Flanker, the two-seat Su-30, has been produced in significant quantities, and its variants exported to nearly a dozen countries.

The current model in question, without canards, is properly called the Su-35S and is the most advanced type of the Flanker family. It began development in 2003 under the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO), a subcontractor of Sukhoi. The first prototypes rolled out in 2007 and production began in 2009.

Airframe and Engines

The Flanker family of aircraft is super-maneuverable—meaning it is engineered to perform controlled maneuvers that are impossible through regular aerodynamic mechanisms. In the Su-35, this is in part achieved through use of thrust-vectoring engines: the nozzles of its Saturn AL-41F1S turbofans can independently point in different directions in flight to assist the aircraft in rolling and yawing. Only one operational Western fighter, the F-22 Raptor, has similar technology.

This also allows the Su-35 to achieve very high angles-of-attack—in other words, the plane can be moving in one direction while its nose is pointed in another. A high angle of attack allows an aircraft to more easily train its weapons on an evading target and execute tight maneuvers.

Such maneuvers may be useful for evading missiles or dogfighting at close ranges—though they leave any aircraft in a low-energy state.

The Flanker-E can achieve a maximum speed of Mach 2.25 at high altitude (equal to the F-22 and faster than the F-35 or F-16) and has excellent acceleration. However, contrary to initial reports, it appears it may not be able to supercruise—perform sustained supersonic flight without using afterburners—while loaded for combat. Its service ceiling is sixty thousand feet, on par with F-15s and F-22s, and ten thousand feet higher than Super Hornets, Rafales and F-35s.

The Su-35 has expanded fuel capacity, giving it a range of 2,200 miles on internal fuel, or 2,800 miles with two external fuel tanks. Both the lighter titanium airframe and the engines have significantly longer life expectancies than their predecessors, at six thousand and 4,500 flight hours, respectively. (For comparison, the F-22 and F-35 are rated at eight thousand hours).

The Flanker airframe is not particularly stealthy. However, adjustments to the engine inlets and canopy, and the use of radar-absorbent material, supposedly halve the Su-35’s radar cross-section; one article claims it may be down to between one and three meters. This could reduce the range it can be detected and targeted, but the Su-35 is still not a “stealth fighter.”

Weaponry

The Su-35 has twelve to fourteen weapons hardpoints, giving it an excellent loadout compared to the eight hardpoints on the F-15C and F-22, or the four internally stowed missiles on the F-35.

At long range, the Su-35 can use K-77M radar-guided missiles (known by NATO as the AA-12 Adder), which are claimed to have range of over 120 miles.

For shorter-range engagements, the R-74 (NATO designation: AA-11 Archer) infrared-guided missile is capable of targeting “off boresight”—simply by looking through a helmet-mounted optical sight, the pilot can target an enemy plane up sixty degrees away from where his plane is pointed. The R-74 has a range of over twenty-five miles, and also uses thrust-vectoring technology.

The medium-range R-27 missile and the extra long-range R-37 (aka the AA-13 Arrow, for use against AWACs, EW and tanker aircraft) complete the Su-35’s air-to-air missile selection.

Additionally, the Su-35 is armed with a thirty-millimeter cannon with 150 rounds for strafing or dogfighting.

The Flanker-E can also carry up to seventeen thousand pounds of air-to-ground munitions. Historically, Russia has made only limited use of precision-guided munitions (PGMs) compared to Western air forces. However, the capability for large-scale use of such weapons is there, if doctrine and munition stocks accommodate it.

Sensors and Avionics

The Su-35’s most critical improvements over its predecessors may be in hardware. It is equipped with a powerful L175M Khibiny electronic countermeasure system intended to distort radar waves and misdirect hostile missiles. This could significantly degrade attempts to target and hit the Flanker-E.

The Su-35’s IRBIS-E passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar is hoped to provide better performance against stealth aircraft. It is claimed to able to track up to thirty airborne targets with a Radar-cross section of three meters up to 250 miles away—and targets with cross-sections as small 0.1 meters over fifty miles away. However, PESA radars are easier to detect and to jam than the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars now used by Western fighters. The IRBIS also has an air-to ground mode that can designate up to four surface targets at time for PGMs.

Supplementing the radar is an OLS-35 targeting system that includes an Infra-Red Search and Track (IRST) system said to have a fifty-mile range—potentially a significant threat to stealth fighters.

More mundane but vital systems—such as pilot multi-function displays and fly-by-wire avionics—have also been significantly updated.

Operational Units and Future Customers

Currently, the Russian Air Force operates only forty-eight Su-35s. Another fifty were ordered in January 2016, and will be produced at a rate of ten per year. Four Su-35s were deployed to Syria this January after a Russian Su-24 was shot down by a Turkish F-16. Prominently armed with air-to-air missiles, the Su-35s were intended to send a message that the Russians could pose an aerial threat if attacked.

China has ordered twenty-four Su-35s at a cost of $2 billion, but is thought unlikely to purchase more. Beijing’s interest is believed to lie mostly in copying the Su-35’s thrust-vector engines for use in its own designs. The Chinese PLAAF already operates the Shenyang J-11, a copy of the Su-27.

Attempts to market the Su-35 abroad, especially to India and Brazil, have mostly foundered. Recently, however, Indonesia has indicated it wishes to purchase eight this year, though the contract signing has been repeatedly delayed. Algeria is reportedly considering acquiring ten for $900 million. Egypt, Venezuela and Vietnam are also potential customers.

Cost estimates for the Su-35 have run between $40 million and $65 million; however, the exports contracts have been at prices above $80 million per unit.

Against the Fifth Generation

The Su-35 is at least equal—if not superior—to the very best Western fourth-generation fighters. The big question, is how well can it perform against a fifth-generation stealth plane such as the F-22 or F-35?

The maneuverability of the Su-35 makes it an unsurpassed dogfighter. However, future aerial clashes using the latest missiles (R-77s, Meteors, AIM-120s) could potentially take place over enormous ranges, while even short-range combat may involve all-aspect missiles like the AIM-9X and R-74 that don’t require pointing the aircraft at the target. Nonetheless, the Su-35’s speed (which contributes to a missile’s velocity) and large load-carrying abilities mean it can hold its own in beyond-visual-range combat. Meanwhile, the Flanker-E’s agility and electronic countermeasures may help it evade opposing missiles.

The more serious issue, though, is that we don’t know how effective stealth technology will be against a high-tech opponent. An F-35 stealth fighter that gets in a short-range duel with a Flanker-E will be in big trouble—but how good a chance does the faster, more-maneuverable Russian fighter have of detecting that F-35 and getting close to it in the first place?

As the U.S. Air Force would have it, stealth fighters will be able to unleash a hail of missiles up to one hundred miles away without the enemy having any way to return fire until they close to a (short) distance, where visual and IR scanning come into play. Proponents of the Russian fighter argue that it will be able to rely upon ground-based low-bandwidth radars, and on-board IRST sensors and PESA radar, to detect stealth planes. Keep in mind, however, that the former two technologies are imprecise and can’t be used to target weapons in most cases.

Both parties obviously have huge economic and political incentives to advance their claims. While it is worthwhile examining the technical merits of these schools of thought in detail, the question will likely only be resolved by testing under combat conditions. Furthermore, other factors such as supporting assets, mission profile, pilot training and numbers play a large a role in determining the outcomes of aerial engagements.

The Su-35 may be the best jet-age dogfighter ever made and a capable missile delivery platform—but whether that will suffice for an air-superiority fighter in the era of stealth technology remains to be seen.

Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring .

Via The National Interest

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