Italeri ITA48130 Russian Sukhoi Su-47 "Berkut" Experimental Jet Fighter - Zhukovsky Air Base, Russia (1:100 Scale)
"What is the use of developing the Sukhoi fifth-generation fighter, if the aircraft's cockpit dates back to a second- or third-generation design?"
- Colonel General Anatoly Sitnov, Defence Ministry Acquisition Chief for the Russian Federation
The Sukhoi Su-47 Berkut ("golden eagle"), also designated S-32 and S-37 during initial development, is an experimental supersonic jet fighter developed by Sukhoi Aviation Corporation. The NATO reporting name for this aircraft is 'Firkin'. A distinguishing feature of the aircraft is its forward-swept wing, similar to that of the Grumman X-29. Although the Berkut has been referred to as the Su-47 since 2002, suggesting that it is a ready-for-production warplane, it will more likely be heavily redesigned (as part of the Prospective Air Complex for Tactical Air Forces or PAK FA program) before any series production begins. The Su-47 designation may or may not be reused for the PAK FA design.
Originally known as the S-37, Sukhoi redesignated its advanced test aircraft as the Su-47 in 2002. The change reflected the company's decision to market the design as a production fighter rather than as an experimental prototype. Also commonly referred to as the Berkut (Golden Eagle), the S-37 was originally built as Russia's principal testbed for composite materials and sophisticated fly-by-wire control systems. The aircraft makes use of forward-swept wings allowing superb maneuverability and operation at angles of attack up to 45° or more.
TsAGI has long been aware of the advantages of forward swept wings, with research including the development of the Tsibin LL and study of the captured Junkers Ju 287 in the 1940s. Forward-swept wings offer lower wave drag, reduced bending moments, and delayed stall when compared to more traditional wing shapes. Unfortunately, forward sweep also induces twisting (divergence) strong enough to rip the wings off an aircraft built of conventional materials. Only recently have composite materials made the design of aircraft with forward-swept wings feasible.
Pictured here is a 1:100 scale diecast replica of a Russian Sukhoi Su-47 "Berkut" experimental jet fighter.
Release Date: June 2014
Historical Account: "Testbed" - Like its western counterpart, the Grumman X-29, the S-37 was primarily a technology demonstrator, one intended to lay the foundation for the next Russian fighter. Such a fighter must not only be as advanced as the US F-22 Raptor and Eurofighter Typhoon, but must also compete for funding with the more conventional MiG. However, Sukhoi is now attempting to market the S-37 to the Russian military and foreign customers as a production fighter in its own right. Initial reaction was not good, but the aircraft's performance has been so impressive that the Russian government has made funds available for further testing of the design.