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Sukhoi Su-27 and 30/33/34/35

Sukhoi Su-27 and 30/33/34/35 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2019 Title Sukhoi Su-27 and 30/33/34/35
Author Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov Publisher Crecy
Published 2018 ISBN 978-1910809181
Format 720 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $64.95

Review

Many years ago, several new aircraft designs appeared at Ramenskoye airbase, the Soviet equivalent to Edwards AFB, where new and upgraded aircraft are tested. These three designs had not been seen before and were given the preliminary designations of Ram-J, Ram-K, and Ram-L. These aircraft appeared not long after the USAF's F-15 Eagle entered service and the F/A-18 Hornet was under development. The Ram-K had similar design features to the F-15 (when seen from a distance), while the Ram-L had a similar appearance to the F/A-18A. As time went on, these mystery aircraft were revealed as the Sukhoi T-8-1 (Ram-J), Sukhoi T-10 (Ram-K), and the Mikoyan 9 series (Ram-L), and as they entered service, the T-8 became the Su-25 (NATO Codename: Frogfoot), T-10 became the Su-27 (NATO Codename: Flanker), and the first production 9 series was the MiG-29 (9.12) (NATO Codename: Fulcrum). The T-10, like many of its peers, went through many design changes during its development and where the T-10 appeared somewhat awkward but functional, the resulting Su-27 looked like it was flying fast while standing still. There are certain aircraft that are simply beautiful to behold, and for me, those include the F-14 Tomcat and the Su-27/35 Flanker.

Even after the fall of the Soviet Union and even with the online connectivity around the globe, details about any given Soviet aircraft design remain difficult to obtain outside of the Russian Federation. That is where authors Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov have broken through those barriers on numerous aviation subjects. In each of their titles, they dive into a level of detail you don't see in many western aviation books, examining the various components and subsystems that make up each variant of a given subject aircraft. Once those details are laid out, the authors provide detailed coverage of the aircraft in service, license production where applicable, color schemes, serial numbers, and much more. Yefim Gordon published one of these detailed titles, the Sukhoi Su-27, back in 2007. This hardcover title was 554 pages and can be found used on Amazon now for between $192.99 and $499.99.

Last year, I pre-ordered the Gordon/Komissarov revised Su-27 title, and while I knew it was going to be larger than the original book, I wasn't expecting UPS to deliver the Amazon box with a hand cart. Okay, I exaggerate, but it is HEAVY. At 722 pages (also hardcover), this revised title picks up the story from the basic Su-27 and covers the subsequent Su-30, Su-33, Su-34, and Su-35 aircraft.

The coverage includes:

  • The concept is born
  • The T-10 flies
  • Back to the drawing board – or the recipe for a better fighter
  • A new round of tests
  • The family starts growing
  • The Su-27 in detail
  • Ship ahoy!
  • A new generation – Take One: the Su-27M
  • The Su-30 family
  • From Flanker to Fullback: The strike version
  • A new generation – Take Two: the Su-35S
  • Flankers with a Chinese flavor
  • The Su-27 family in action
  • Flankers far and wide
  • Appendix 1: Su-27 family specifications
  • Appendix 2: Su-27 family production list
  • Appendix 3: Accident attrition

Each section is full of full-color photos as well as color profiles, documenting the camouflage and color schemes carried by these aircraft. Some of the profiles illustrate the variety of identification markings applied as the Russian Air Force started applying the VVS Rossii identification on the vertical stabilizers, followed by the addition of Russian Federation registration numbers. As you go through the title, the modeler will appreciate the detailed photos as well as the excellent views of the camouflage patterns. The aviation historian and aviation engineer will appreciate the level of detail of each section with in-depth coverage of avionics, engines, weapons, and more.

Since every Gordon/Komissarov title deals with Soviet and Russian military aviation since World War II, I have given up trying to select which titles I might want to add, instead I simply order all of them. For those of you who have some of their titles, you may not have noticed how quickly their book prices skyrocket on the used book market after the title goes out of print. Those of you who start your quest for one of these titles after these books sell out certainly do. The first edition of this title more that tripled its value, and with the comprehensive coverage of this update, I suspect you'll see similar demand. The new price of this book is $64.95 (my Amazon pre-order price was $42.63 including shipping).

Whether you are an aviation historian or serious scale modeler, this title is a must-have for your technical library. If you have the KittyHawk or GWH 1/48 Su-35S, KittyHawk or HobbyBoss 1/48 Su-34, Kinetic 1/48 Su-33, Academy or HobbyBoss 1/48 Su-30 series, or any of a multitude of 1/48 Su-27 kits (or all of the above), this title is the reference you've been looking for. If you want to have only one book that gives you what you need for your Soviet/Russian aviation modeling or research, this title and all of the others from Gordon/Komissarov are your best resources available.

Definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to Specialty Press for this review sample!