Gaincorp GC8016B Russian Sukhoi Su-33 "Flanker-D" Fleet Defense Fighter - #65 (1:72 Scale)
"Their [US] defense budget in absolute figures is almost 25 times bigger than Russia's. This is what in defense is referred to as 'their home — their fortress'. And good on them, I say. Well done! But this means that we also need to build our home and make it strong and well protected. We see, after all, what is going on in the world. The Comrade Wolf knows who to eat, as the saying goes. It knows who to eat and is not about to listen to anyone, it seems."
- Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking to the Federal Assembly in his 2006 annual address
The Sukhoi Su-33 (NATO reporting name 'Flanker-D') is a naval military aircraft produced by Russian firm Sukhoi in 1982 for aircraft carriers. It is a derivative of the Sukhoi Su-27, also known as the Su-27K. The main difference from the Su-27 is that Su-33s can operate from aircraft carriers. Moreover, unlike the Su-27, the Su-33 can be refueled during flight.
The Su-33 first flew in May 1985, and entered service in the Russian Navy in 1994. An air regiment comprising 24 fighters of the type was formed up on Russia's only operating aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov.
Each pilot, prior to making an actual landing on a carrier deck made 400 landings on a concrete runway matching the size, and shape of the carrier deck, in order to practice no-flare landing technique. Despite this, at one point a minor accident occurred during a touch-and-go. During a landing, the wind blew at 45 degrees to the port beam causing the prototype (then called T-10K), piloted by Victor Pugachev, to drift 3 meters off course, nearly causing an accident. As the aircraft cleared the deck, a landing gear oleo struck several struts on the lower hull sponson. The struts buckled but the aircraft was undamaged. The pilots of both the MiG-29K, and Su-27K, had all already seen the struts but did not complain about the placement, because they were below flight deck level, their only objection was the turbulence generated by the sponson, which was later fixed.
The first actual carrier landing did not pass without incident, as would be hoped. It was discovered that despite the shortening of the fighter, it was still too tall to fit through the hangar door, and special clamps had to be fitted to the landing gear to squeeze it through the hangar.
The next day, it was found prior to takeoff, that when the water cooled jet blast deflectors were set at their normal setting of 60 degrees, they were too close to the engine nozzles. They were ordered to be set at 45 degrees, but the actuator could not hold them in that position. The crew then improvised makeshift braces out of steel pipe to hold the deflector in position. Unfortunately, the welders neglected to clear the metal fragments that resulted from their work, and these fragments pelted observers. Then to make matters worse, the pop-up detents would not retract when ordered, and the prototype sat in front of the shield for 8 seconds longer then the maximum safe time of 6 seconds. This then caused the shield's water pipes to explode, blowing apart the shield. Some observers believed the fighters fuel lines had ruptured and ran, fearing an explosion. Pugachev, who was piloting, was then ordered to throttle back his engines which resulted in the detents retracting, causing the fighter to jerk forward. Pugachev reacted quickly and stood on the brakes and shut off the engines. The fighter was towed to another position and Pugachev took off without using jet blast deflectors, or detents, climbed steeply, performed the Pugachev's Cobra and flew away. From then on, a Kamov Ka-27PS Search-and-rescue helicopter was flown close to the carrier in the event of an accident. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 9 inches
Length: 12 inches