Midland's Sukhoi Su-27/30/33/34/35


Sukhoi Su-27


Yefim Gordon & Dimitry Komissarov




$64.95 from Specialty Press


Scott Van Aken

Notes: ISBN 978-1-910809-18-1, 720 Pages, Hundreds of photos, most in color, many profiles and drawings.

Adding to the huge and authoritative books on Russian aircraft, this one is on the superlative Sukhoi Su-27, probably one of the finest modern fighters around. Needing an aircraft to best what was then the current crop of modern US fighters; the F-14/15/16/18, Sukhoi started work on what was then needed, a long range air superiority interceptor.

Though the initial pre-production aircraft started flying in 1981, it wasn't until 1984 that they started entering normal service. Though eventually nearly 700 were built, only a bit more than half that number are still in Russian service. However, the plane has been quite successful in the export market and improved variants of the aircraft are still being developed today.

Those who have any interest in Russian aviation surely know of the work of Yefim Gordon, as he has written dozens of quality books on the subject. This one is the most thorough work on the Su-27 Flanker as well as the Su-30/33/34 and 35 that has yet been done. This revised edition has over 120 new pages added to it which makes this a tome in the real meaning of the word. 720 pages is not something that makes for a weekend read. Within you will find a full history, specs, drawings, profiles and easily a thousand color photos.

The book is divided into twelve sections that covers, among other things, the development, initial production, early variants, development of the shipboard version, the Su-30 family, the larger two seat Su-34 and the updated and much more capable Su-35. You get info and photos of those used by display teams, a detailed look at the aircraft and systems, reports on how the aircraft compares to other modern fighters, and a section on all the various nations that have or are operating the type. Specific attention is provided on the aircraft used and developed by the Chinese. After each major aircraft type section, you are provided with a production list.

Though I shouldn't be surprised, I was intrigued by the amount of politicking involved in getting the aircraft into development and then production. The sheer number of prototype and test aircraft is amazing when compared to similar aircraft types in the west. In the 12 years since the initial book the Flanker family has been involved in a considerable number of military actions, none more contentious than the Syrian civil war. Though claiming to be neutral in their commentary, it was not difficult to see a rather pro-Russian spin given on the description of events. Understandable since the authors are Russians themselves. Just shows how tough it is to be truly neutral on subjects affecting your home country.

It is great that we have an update on a book that is, without a doubt, the finest work on this aircraft yet done. It is a huge book and took me the better part of a month to read. I know it will offer many hours of enjoyable reading and browsing to you. It is one that I can give my highest recommendation and I know you will agree.

June 2019

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