A derivation of the Su-27 it was originally identified as the Su-27M. It was develped to better the US F-15 and F-16, the proposed improvements would greatly enhance its air combat capabilities and the addition of a proposed new AAM missile with a 400 km range would render the craft truly formidable.
Following flight tests from 1988, based on the 1985 experimental T10-24, the first prototype was publically displayed in 1992 at Farnborough. Flight testing continued and up to 1994 eleven prototypes were built. Intended to enter service around 1995, the first test flights of an improved Su-35, the Su-37, in 1996 and the transfer of existing Su-35 prototypes to this program appeared to suggest the end of the Su-35 without any production aircraft.
It shares much in common with the naval variant of the Su-27, the Su-33, notably the larger wings and the more powerful engines. Other changes from the Su-27 were canards, a larger nose, the greater use of carbon fibre and aluminium-lithium alloy in the airframe, and larger, squarer tail fins. The new nose holds an improved radar and the aircraft had many other upgrades to its avionics and electronic systems, including digital fly-by-wire and a rear-radar for firing SARH missiles.
A two-dimensional asymmetric thrust vectoring system was tested on the Su-35 and seems to be the basis for the development of the Su-37.