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Ukraine routinely LIES about its population statistics to the tune of 10 million

Kiev provides misleading info in an effort to conceal ongoing demographic collapse and secure EU financial support

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(Oriental Review) – In the legendary Gogol’s novel “Dead Souls”, a swindler buys on paper slaves who died after the latest census (therefore officially alive) in order to use them as a collateral to take a loan he has no intention of paying back. As we’ll see, Groisman’s government of Ukraine wrote a new version of the novel, this time taking down a whole country in their insane plan.

It’s official: Ukraine doesn’t count its emigration

Ukraine held its last census in 2001. At that time its population accounted 48,457,000 people. The official figures as on Jun 1, 2017 show a demographic disaster: 42,482,000, 6 million or 13% down in 16 years.

Population of Ukraine 1990-2017, in millions. Source: Ukrstat.

Surprisingly, according to the same data, net migration in Ukraine after the first Orange Revolution (2014) turns slightly positive: 

Ukrainian population in 1990-2016 chart. Source: UkrStat. Positive migration balance in 2005-2016 marked in red.

This miracle has a very simple explanation.

The figures of immigration and emigration are normally based on the entries and exits of the national territory. In Ukraine, on the contrary, these statistics are based on the official place of residence. When a citizen moves from one part of Ukraine to another, he has to declare his change of residence for administrative reasons. But those who move out of the country simply have no reason to do so. The falsification of Ukrainian demographic data therefore consists in a simple change of definition, as confirmed in an endnote of the 2017 migration figures.Importantly, this endnote in available in Ukrainian language only:

Translation into English: Information based on the available administrative data on the change of registration of place of residence.

In other words: the falsification of the Ukrainian demographic data is absolutely not a secret. We shall try to measure the magnitude of this falsification, and try to understand who is benefiting from these ‘dead souls’.

Estimates of the real population of Ukraine

Electicity consumption

The first is based on the official electricity consumption figures:

Energy consumption in Ukraine, 2015 compared to 2014 (total, industry, agriculture, transport, public utilities, population). Source: Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine.

Thus, during that year the Ukrainian industries decreased approximately on 18%, while population diminished on 7-8%.

Bread comsumption

A notable Ukrainian analysis shows that the bread consumption had plummetted 55% between 2000 and 2016:

The chart presents statistics of production of different types of breads in 2000-2016 in Ukraine, in tons.
The chart presents statistics of production of different types of breads in 2000-2016 in Ukraine, in tons.

It should be taken into account that in Ukrainian culture the fall of incomes impacts the consumption of bread in a minimal scale or even leads to its increase as the bread often replaces more expensive products like meat and fish. Therefore, 55% decrease in bread production together with lowering incomes evidence that Ukraine has apparently lost half of its population for the last 16 years.

Number of the schoolchildren

During the 1995/1996 school year there were 7.1 million schoolchildren in Ukraine. In the 2015/2016 schoolyear it was down to 3,783,150 (official data of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine) or 47% in 20 years.

Ukrainian Institute for the Future

In June 2017 the Ukrainian Institute for the Future released a symptomatic report with the following graphics:

Structure of the Ukrainian population in employment terms.

It shows that there are only 12.3 million officially declared jobs in Ukraine today.

Emigration statistics in neighboring countries since 2014

From the Russian official statistics the net legal migration between the two countries in 2014 and 2015 was 240,501 towards Russia. In 2016194,385Ukrainians obtained a residence permit and 100,696 obtained Russian citizenship. Another 600,000 Ukrainians living in Russia are waiting a law change to allow them to obtain Russian citizenship. These figures do not include temporary refugees and people with work patents. Also, due to the absence of visa requirements, a significant part of the immigration from Ukanire to Russia is illegal. All this taken into account, we can roughly estimate the emigration from Ukraine to Russia since 2014 to about 2.5 million people.

As to the rest of the world, the main destination is Poland and we can estimate thatby the end of 2016 there were 1.5 million Ukrainians working there. The total exodus from Ukraine to abroad since 2014 most likely reached 6-10 million people. However the vast majority of them do not have any permanent residence permits and have to go back to Ukraine regularly.

Emigration between 2004 and 2013

The World Migration Report 2008 claimed that 780,000 Ukrainians worked abroad, compared to 62,000 people according to Ukrainian authorities.

Russian figures indicate that the net migration between Ukraine and Russia was approximately 292,000 towards Russia from 2005 until 2013. The equivalent figures for Italy from 2003 until 2013 is 206,320 people towards Italy. There have also been 892,908 Ukrainians who received long term visas (over 3 months) to the EU between 2008 and 2013. In total, we can estimate that the falsification of demographic figures before 2014 was approximately one million people who were already living abroad before the 2014 coup. If we add the loss of population in the Donbass to DNR and LNR at 3.5 millions, the permanent Kiev-controlled population now should be around 42,5-8-3,5-1=30 million people.

Why do they falsify?

Alexandr Klymenko

Aleksandr Klymenko, former Minister of Taxes and Duties of Ukraine, offers four interesting explanations for this falsifications:

Trick the IMF and the EU

The international donors seem to use the official falsified figures in their predictive models to determine if Ukraine will be able to pay back. It is obvious that Ukraine will default (it has already defaulted on a 3 billion dollar debt to Russia) and that no analyst could take the current Ukrainian government seriously in this matter, but maybe all this make-believe theater is simply very convenient to transfer Western taxpayer money into the right pockets: several Ukrainian oligarchs and Western companies benefit from the chaos.

Steal money from the Ukrainian people

Oleksandr Klymenko suggests that the falsification could help some officials become richer, through the energy officially used for the millions of dead souls. As Ukrainian apartments do not usually have individual electric or gas counters, the energy is counted for the whole building, then paid by each tenant based on how many people officially live in each apartment. One way to steal money would be to make people who live a large part of the year abroad as much as if they were always in Ukraine, then pocket the difference.

Steal the elections

Until 2014, mass emigration was mostly observed in the pro-NATO Western part of the country. Letting relatives vote for two million people living mostly or permanently abroady greatly helped parties opposed to good relations with Russia.

Minimise the casualties of the war

Officially, Kiev recognizes only 2700 soldiers killed in the undeclared war against Donbass, despite catastrophic losses during several combat phses, such as the Ilovaisk mousetrap. Hiding the real losses of the war helps the government to remain in power: it hides their incompetence, reduces protests against the war, and lets them blame all of Ukraine’s problems on the war (which is imputed on the mighty invisible Russian army).

Hide Ukraine’s weakness compared to its neighbours

The economic and demographic collapse of Ukraine puts it in an extremely weak position compared to all of its neighbors: Ukraine is now in all aspects much weaker than the smaller Romania, Slovakia and Hungary. The main problem however may come from Poland, which has not forgotten that almost 100,000 km² of the West of Ukraine used to belong to Poland until 1939. The relations between the two countries are already getting sour because of the glorification of Ukrainian nationalists and Ukrainian Waffen-SS volunteers, who massacred not only Jews but also many Poles. There is no risk of war between the two countries in a foreseeable future, but Poland, America’s most servile vassal in Eastern Europe, knows how easy it can be to invade another country in the name of democracy and Western values and get away with it. This may be far-fetched, but more simply if millions of West-Ukrainians live in Poland and obtain Polish citizenship, Ukraine might very well become Poland’s vassal state. Hiding the real demographic disaster might prevent Polish politicians from even planning such a take-over.

Minimise the importance of emigrants for the economy

Remittances sent by migrant workers to their families in Ukraine represents sums larger than foreign direct investments (over $6 bln compared to less than $3.5 bln in 2016). They are the reason why the value of the hryvna has not completely collapsed despite collapsing exports. Remittances contribute to around 8% of the Ukrainian economy. Denying the mass emigration is a way of exagerrating the strength of the Ukrainian economy, as these remittances are due to the weakness of Ukraine’s economy and not a measure of its strength.

Hide the government project of population reduction

Having its Soviet-built industry, completely destroyed, today’s Ukraine simply cannot afford to socially support 30 million people and latently encourages emigration elsewhere. Oleksandr Klymenko agrees and adds that the plan of the government is to reduce the population of Ukraine to 20 millions as quickly as possible: old people will die faster from the reform of pensions and the reform of health services, and on the other hand fertility will decrease due to the end of free medicine for expecting mothers and the end of benefits paid to parents of young children. The falsification of demographic figures hide the fact that the “operation 20 millions” is carrying out successfully.

Conclusion

Although the falsification of Ukraine’s demographic data is not a secret, as it is clearly mentioned on Ukrstat’s website, the validity of the official figures is hardly ever discussed. We showed here an exclusive method of estimating the population of Ukraine which confirms that the demographic collapse of Ukraine is much worse than officially acknowledged. As in Gogol’s novel, the trafficking of dead souls probably helps a few people getting richer, but beyond this, the dissimulation of mass emigration hides the criminal incompetence of the Ukrainian government and the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis they initiated. Many elements point to a worsening of the demographic situation in the foreseeable future, and the very existence of Ukraine might be threatened in the next few decades by the consequence of the suicidal politics of the current government, if it is not soon replaced by competent people determined to pull Ukraine out of the disaster by ending the war, stop the all-out confrontation with Russia and definitely cancel the politics designed to serve the financial and strategic interests of the Western elite instead of the interests of the Ukrainian people.

Photo taken in the Ukrainian town of Drogobych, 2016

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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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