The Su-27S (NATO reporting name – Flanker) is a single-seat highly-maneuverable fighter aircraft built by Sukhoi Design Bureau as the Soviet response to the U.S. F-14 and F-15 and entered service in 1985. The primary role of the Su-27 was to provide defense against American bombers, USN ships and provide Soviet bomber escorts. There have been many improvements over the years resulting in numerous variants of the Su-27. The export variant, the Su-27SK was sold to China and eventually developed into the license-built Shenyang J-11.
The Sukhoi Su-27SKM is an upgraded version of the Su-27S and meant for export. It features GPS navigation, new avionics, digital displays with a HUD, new radar and a refueling probe. The Su-27SKM (Serial Commercial Modernized) prototype made its maiden flight in 2003. The prototype Su-27SKM 305 c/n 36911040102 wearing a grey paint scheme appeared at the MAKS-2003 air show in August 2003, Air Show China in November 2004 and a new paint scheme for 2005 at the 47th Paris Air Show and MAKS-2005 Air Show the following month.