The Sukhoi Su-27 (Russian: Сухой Су-27) (NATO reporting name: Flanker) is a twin-engine supermanoeuverable fighter aircraft designed by Sukhoi. It was intended as a direct competitor for the large United States fourth generation fighters, with 3,530-kilometre (1,910 nmi) range, heavy armament, sophisticated avionics and high manoeuvrability. The Su-27 most often flies air superiority missions, but is able to perform almost all combat operations. Complementing the smaller MiG-29, the Su-27's closest US counterpart is the F-15 Eagle.
There are several related developments of the Su-27 design. The Su-30 is a two-seat, dual-role fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions. The Su-33 ‘Flanker-D’ is a navy fleet defence interceptor for use on aircraft carriers. Further versions include the side-by-side 2-seat Su-34 ‘Fullback’ strike variant and the Su-35 ‘Flanker-E’ improved air defence fighter.
The Russian Air Force (Russian: Военно-воздушные cилы России, tr. Voyenno-vozdushnye sily Rossii) is the aerial warfare service branch of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. It is currently under the command of Colonel General Aleksandr Zelin. The Russian Navy has its own air arm, the Russian Naval Aviation, which is the former Soviet Aviatsiya Voyenno Morskogo Flota ("Naval Aviation"), or AV-MF).
The Air Force was formed from parts of the former Soviet Air Forces after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991–92. Boris Yeltsin's creation of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation on 7 May 1992, can be taken as a convenient formation date for the new Air Force. Since that time, the Air Force has suffered severe setbacks due to lack of resources, and has constantly shrunk in size. Since Vladimir Putin became President of the Russian Federation however, much more money has been allocated to the Armed Forces as a whole.