||Originally known as the S-37, Sukhoi redesignated its advanced test aircraft as the Su-47 in 2002. Officially nicknamed Berkut (Golden Eagle), the Su-47 was originally built as Russia's principal testbed for composite materials and sophisticated fly-by-wire control systems. The aircraft makes use of forward-swept wings allowing superb maneuverability and operation at angles of attack up to 45° or more.
TsAGI has long been aware of the advantages of forward-swept wings, with research including the development of the Tsibin LL and study of the captured Junkers Ju 287 in the 1940s. Forward-swept wings yield a higher maximum lift coefficient, reduced bending moments, and delayed stall when compared to more traditional wing shapes. At high angles of attack, the wing tips remain unstalled allowing the aircraft to retain aileron control. Unfortunately, forward sweep also induces twisting (divergence) strong enough to rip the wings off an aircraft built of conventional materials. Only recently have composite materials made the design of aircraft with forward-swept wings feasible.
The Su-47 is of similar dimensions to previous large Sukhoi fighters, such as the Su-35. To reduce development costs, the Su-47 borrowed the forward fuselage, vertical tails, and landing gear of the Su-27 family. Nonetheless, the aircraft includes reduced radar signature features (including radar absorbent materials), an internal weapons bay, and space set aside for an advanced radar. Though similar in overall concept to the American X-29 research aircraft of the 1980s, the Su-47 is about twice the size and far closer to an actual combat aircraft than the US design.
To solve the problem of wing-twisting, the Su-47 makes use of composite materials carefully tailored to resist twisting while still allowing the wing to bend for improved aerodynamic behavior. Due to its comparatively large wingspan, the Su-47 is to be equipped with folding wings, in order to fit inside Russian hangars. Like its immediate predecessor, the Su-37, the Su-47 is of tandem-triplane layout, with canards ahead of wings and tailplanes. Interestingly, the Su-47 has two tailbooms of unequal length outboard of the exhaust nozzles. The shorter boom, on the left-hand side, houses rear-facing RADAR, while the longer boom houses a brake parachute.