SUKHOI Su-31

TYPE: Aerobatic single-seat sportplane.

PROGRAMME: Design started 1991; prototype construction began 1992, flew June 1992 as Su-29T, demonstrated at 1992 Farnborough Air Show; followed by two more prototypes and two static test airframes; first production aircraft by Sukhoi Advanced Technologies (RA-01405) flown 1994. Su-31M2 introduced in 1999. Manufacture transferred to RSK 'MiG' (LAPIK at Lukhovitsy) in early 2001; two Su-31Ms, one Su-31 built in 2001; contract for 10 Su-29s/Su-31Ms for an undisclosed buyer pending in early 2002.
In XXI World Aerobatic Championships, June 2001, Su-31s gained first place and seven of next 14 places.

CURRENT VERSIONS: Su-31: Basic version; non-retractable landing gear. Alternatively known as Su-31T (Turnirnyi: Competition).
Su-31M: As Su-31T but with Zvezda SKS-94 pilot's extraction system under modified canopy with deeper frame. Empty weight 760 kg (1,676 lb); normal T-O weight 880 kg (1,940 lb). Prototype RA-01486 converted from Su-31T.
Su-31M2: Improved version of Su-31M with larger wing, airframe weight reduced by approximately 80 kg (176 lb), ergonomically redesigned cockpit, and upgraded Zvezda SKS-94M pilot's extraction system. Prototype scheduled to fly in mid-2003.
Su-31X: Export version of Su-31T. Su-31U: As Su-31T but retractable landing gear. None yet built.
Su-31ChM: Improved version of Su-31M2 under development in 2003 for World Aerobatic Championships competitions; features include airframe weight reduced by 25 kg (55 lb), and 313 kW (420 hp) VOKBM M-9F engine.

CUSTOMERS: Total 25 (including five Su-31Ms) built by late 1998 and exported to Australia, Brazil, Italy, Lithuania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, UK and USA. Su-31Ms operated in Italy, Russia and Switzerland. Production batch of five Su-31M2S, 1999-2000, of which at least two to USA; RSK 'MiG' to build initial batch of nine at its LAPIK division (three Su-29s and six Su-31s). Total of six Su-31s were scheduled for delivery in 2002, including two Su-31Ms for the Czech Republic and one Su-31M for a Swiss customer. Production in 2003 includes two for UK dealership.

COSTS: US$220,000 to US$260,000 (2003).

DESIGN FEATURES: Basically single-seat version of Su-29 with uprated engine; new landing gear; 35o inclination of seat enables pilot to employ repeatedly a g load of +12/-10, giving advantages in controlling aircraft within limited flying area and to perform very complicated manoeuvres; improved field of view; two baggage compartments.

STRUCTURE: More than 70 per cent composites by weight; centre-fuselage is welded truss of high-strength stainless steel tube, with detachable skin panels of honeycomb-filled composite sandwich; rear fuselage is semi-monocoque of composites with honeycomb filler; one-piece two-spar wing with carbon fibre main spar, titanium ribs, covered with honeycomb sandwich skin; tail unit is all-composites; mainwheel legs titanium.

POWER PLANT: One 294 kW (394 hp) VOKBM M-14PF nine-cylinder radial engine in Su-31T/M; MTV-9 three-blade propeller. Basic fuel capacity 78 litres (20.6 US gallons; 17.2 Imp gallons), in fuselage tank; provision in Russian version for 210 litre (55.5 US gallon; 46.2 Imp gallon) centreline drop tank for ferrying; alternatively, in export version, two tanks in wing, total capacity 200 litres (52.8 US gallons; 44.0 Imp gallons).

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only; windscreen and separate canopy, opening as Su-29, except single-piece windscreen/canopy and pilot extraction system in Su-31M and Su-31M2.

 

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