So you want to go Mach 1.8 huh? (the 2 seat version maxes out at Mach 1.8) Well now you can, for the low low asking price of $6,000,000 each. For the first – and possibly the last – time ever you can become the proud owner of 2, Sukhoi SU-27UB 4th generation fighter aircraft. Just before Oshkosh AirVenture 2009 I visited Pride Aircraft in Rockford Illinois who is offering for sale 2 Sukhoi SU-27UB fighters brought straight to you from a former Soviet Republic. Number 31 (built in 1990) and number 32 (built in 1988) have been fully restored and both the engines and airframes were “zeroed out” at the factory. At the moment, the engines have approximately 12 hours each – each aircraft has around 600 hours total time. These airframes look brand new. They also both include freshly overhauled Zvedzda K-36DM ejection seats. Pride has been diligently working to convert all of the instruments, avionics and communications equipment over to standard American gear. This includes all new commercial grade communication radios and state of the art Garmin 530 GPS units.
The first thing you notice about these airplanes is their sheer size. They are enormous – they are 11 feet longer, 6 feet wider and a little more than 1 foot taller than the F-15. It was a little overwhelming standing next to them and comparing them to the 3 L-39‘s that were also in the hangar was almost laughable – they dwarfed the Albatross easily.
Originally these 2 aircraft were sold to a private company who intended to use them for scientific research. Because it was determined that they weren’t the right platform for the work, they are now being offered to private owners or aviation museums. The SU’s were delivered to the US in October of 2008 via an Antonov AN-124 Condor. Before they left, they were – of course – completely demilitarized. All of the weapon hard points were removed along with all countermeasures and radar equipment. They were inspected upon their arrival into the US and have been cleared for private sale. There aren’t too many conditions for the sale other than they cannot leave the US. The asking price is $6 Million each – recently Israel sold 2 very similar aircraft for $15 Million each – these aircraft retained their military systems, but the estimated value of that equipment is approximately $1,500,000 – this should give you an idea of what Pride ultimately expect to get for the 2 aircraft.
As I am writing this, they have undoubtedly begun engine testing as they expected to start that the week after my visit (August 7th, 2009). They expect to be making the first flights in the US by October of this year. Included with the purchase is 1 year of “factory support” provided at Pride in Rockford.
I’ve been trying to imagine who the buyer for an aircraft like this is, is it a wealthy aviation enthusiat? A Museum? One thing I know for sure is that, in my opinion, if these aircraft are sold to a museum or the like it will be a shame. It seems to me that an aircraft like this – in such perfect condition – is just screaming to be flown. As I get more more information regarding any sale, I will keep you updated.
Here are some additional photos from the aircraft: