Mecha Profile: Su-27 Zhuravlik – Muv-Luv Alternative

Since the start of the BETA War, Mikoyam Guluvich Design Bureau has been the Soviet’s go-to manufacturer for TSF – showing both highs and lows in their designs. However, after some major letdowns by MIG such as the MiG-23 Cheburashka, MiG-25 Spirt-Voz and MiG-31 Plamya-Lisa, the Communist Party turned to the other major manufacturer – Sufoni – to supply their next mainline craft: the 2nd-generation Su-27 Zhuravlik.

I. Development History:
– Sufoni Design Bureau is a rival company of Mikoyam Guluvich. Their many designs for Soviet forces were rejected such as the Su-11, Su-15 in favor of the MiG-21, Mig-23 from Mikoyam. Their performance were found to be lower and lost the design competition, this put the company in a financial crisis. Thankfully, they were commissioned to produce the F-14AN3 Mindseeker for Alternative III Program. However, this wasn’t a Soviet-based craft, which went against the principle that the Alternative Plan’s host country (Soviet) would supply the TSF, which didn’t really sit well with the Communist Party.

– However, during the production of the F-14AN3, Sufoni received many TSF design knowledge from Grunnan – a U.S TSF manufacturer. Grunnan secretly offered technological knowledge on the F-14 and later on the F-18 Hornet to Sufoni. In addition, Sufoni also received help from Northrock (which later merged with Grunnan to form Northrock Grunnan). With those knowledge, Sufoni developed the 2nd-generation Su-27 Zhuravlik (Су-27 Журавлик). The craft commenced formal deployment in 1992.

– At the time of deployment, The Su-27 faced several stream of minor issues related to its high specifications and due to it being rushed to combat, resulting in its poor reception with Surface Pilots. All the while, Sufoni continued working with Northrock Grunnan in clandestine, and submitted a 3rd-generation version of the Su-27: the Su-37 Terminator. The Su-37 was quickly accepted ahead of schedule, this drove procurement number for the Su-27 down drastically. The craft was used by the famous Soviet’s 211th Tactical Armored Battalion Zhar.

– Even so, Sufoni continued their own refurbishments of the unit, leading to the Su-27SM – the ultimate variation of the craft. This model would achieve high specifications and reliability, which was later praised as a possible rival of the F-15 Eagle. The Soviet also exported the Su-27 to their European Allies and the Indian militaries as well as the Third United Front, the Soviet Union had also actively approached Western countries with their sales pitches.

II. Technical Specs & Armaments:

– The Su-27 Zhuravlik stands at 19.5-meter, utilizing two ALS-31 Jump Units. The Zhuravlik’s name mean “Crane” – but in contrary to its elegant name, the craft is a large craft – taller than F-15, F-16 and F-18 and even the F-14. Even though the size is more than average, its mobility and close quarter capabilities rivaled those of the F-16 Fighting Falcon – a lightweight and high-mobility craft. Later versions of the Su-27 includes a forewing-shaped blade on the side of the Jump Unit’s inlet to increase performance, which wasn’t present on the initial model of the Su-27.

– With the particular demand of the European front as well as the assumed purpose of the craft was to fight in hive interiors, the Su-27 was equipped with many fixed armaments. It is the first TSF to utilized Super-carbon blade vanes across its airframe – most notably on the shoulders, knees and feet. The super carbon blades was intended to slice-n-dice the smaller BETA strains. The most iconic fixed armaments the Zhuravlik has are two “Motor Blade” on both fore-arms – replacements for the combat knives on the Su-27SM version. The Motor Blades are essentially chain-saws. The serrated chain blades’ high rotation speed allow effective cutting through BETAs – especially Grapplers and Tanks. The weapon became iconic for other Sufoni’s later models.

– For ranged armaments, the Zhuravlik uses the Soviet standard A-97 Assault Cannons – which is a simple redesign of the WS-16C that the F-4R used. The Su-27SM also has enhanced fire control system – which bring the craft’s specs to rival that of the strongest 2nd-gen TSF – the F-15 Eagle.

– The head of the Su-27 is unique compared to the MiG-series, which makes it looks like it has 2 distinct eyes while still using visor-styled head equipment suite. The iconic wire-cutter horn of the MiGs have been integrated to the head itself, which gives it a smooth design. The Zhuravlik however has very high power demand due to its fixed armaments, which led to equipment problem in its initial deployment that made Surface Pilots not so fond of the craft.

III. Variants:
Even though the initial model of the Su-27 was produced in low numbers, Sufoni still gave it many upgrades along the line as well as export them to other nation
Su-27 Zhuravlik
Su-27SM Zhuravlik
– Su-27 Zhuravlik: The initial production model of the Su-27 with wasn’t too popular with Surface Pilots due to many minor problems.
– Su-27SM: A refurbishment of the Su-27. While the appearances didn’t change, motorized arm blades are included on the fore-arms which became Sufoni’s iconic equipment on future TSF.
– Su-27M2: A 2.5th-generation demonstration craft. The unit incorporate Grunnan’s X-29 design technology such as waist-mounted thruster nozzle to improve aerodynamic.
– Su-27SK: the export version of the Zhuravlik.
– Su-33: Naval variant of the Su-27, with modifications for carrier takeoff/landing capabilities.
– J-11: The United Front of China’s version of the Su-27SK. The manufacturer Chengdu replaced the head module with the iconic round-monitor head module to reduce risk of damage to the sensors. The head module can also use low-tech communication antennas to combat the effect of heavy metal cloud.
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