A personal favourite; the Russian Golden Eagle.
The SU-47 Berkut is a bit peculiar Tactical Surface Fighter in that it lacks most of the normal TSF/plane element crossover. It can almost be said, that the only thing taken from the plane itself are the Forward Swept Wings (FSW). However, unlike the plane, the TSF itself is rather busy and filled with more or less useless visuals. For example, what the hell are those red boxy things on its shoulders? Why does it have an angry looking glowing duck bill as its chest? It’s also funny to notice that the Jump Units basically cut the nose and cockpit off, giving them slightly evil look. Overall, it should be said that the TSF SU-47’s most common points with the plane are the wings colour. The overall impression is removed from the actual plane’s smooth surface. The bottom of the plane went more or less unused in making the TSF, not even the intakes were used anywhere.
It has to be said, that the Berkut does seemingly use parts and sections from past Soviet TSFs, similarly how the real life SU-47 had a forward fuselage, landing gear and vertical tails from SU-27 and its derivatives. The asymmetrical tail booms are also mirrored in the Jump Units.
Anyways, I’m a fan of the real life SU-47. While the plane itself was/is just a testbed plane and only one was produced as far as I know, it was a pretty little thing. The FSW, canards and twin outward-canted vertical stabilisers create a nice tandem triplane configuration. While some people diss the FSW design overall as weak and useless, the Berkut would’ve been a beast of a machine in a straight up dogfight with its higher angles of attack in post-stall maneouvres. This was because the FSW allowed the machine to gain better lift closer to the fuselage, which also made the ailerons have more control. The inboard lift that the configuration wasn’t restricted by wingtip stall, or at least to the same extent than the other wing configurations. The thing what made the Berkut a nightmare to design and produce was that the FSW is a geometry that causes wing twisting under load, thus putting more stress on the wings. This was countered with a solution where the wings twist when they bend. The SU-47 had some level of stealth with the surface being coated with radar absorbing material. The downside in all this is that scratches, loose screws and slightly misaligned panels cause the RAM coating’s effectiveness. Knowing Russian industries and their lacking quality control in places, combined with their economy, the Berkut was a plane that was too expensive and hard to produce in any sensible way.
Still, the SU-47 Berkut would’ve been one helluva machine in dogfighting. The TSF reflects this with chainsaws stored in its arms, multiple hardpoints all over its body and KNIVES in its legs. Why knives, you ask? Well, modern fighter pilots have described dogfighting akin to a knife fight in a tight space. The Berkut was made to fight close and fight mean. Total Eclipse TV showcased some of this, but most of it was Newtype power crap. Hell, you have a scene where the Berkut crosses its chainsaw blade with a Type-74 PB Blade. The chainsaw would’ve been unusable after that, but I’m sure the dead psychic ghost in the back prevented it. While the SU-47 would carry the standard TSF armament otherwise, it’s speciality is to get close and personal with either the enemy TSF or BETA, and then enact the goddamn tropak with knives glued to your legs while wielding two mini-chainsaws. It can even poke your eyes out with the hardpoints in its fingers. Hell, it’ll headbutt your skull in two with its horn.
This, of course goes against the ideology of FREEDOM!, where you’re free to shoot every living target behind stealth and far, far away. The F-22A Raptor, both in real life and in TSF form, are all about fighting the ranged fight at Beyond Visual Range. In real life, the Berkut would have a hard time getting close to something that’s already shooting it beyond the horizon, but I’d imagine it would give the Raptor one helluva ride for its money if it ever got to close in.
The SU-47 isn’t dead and forgotten. Colonel General Viktor Bondarev claims that the research and development on the Berkut or similar FSW fighters is still ongoing, and we might just see new prototypes of its nature. Fingers crossed. Then again, perhaps that money could be used to develop Russian industry and help to build a better society to live in.