The Sukhoi Su-30 (Cyrillic: Сухой Су-30; NATO reporting name: Flanker-C) is a twin-engine, two-seat supermaneuverable fighter aircraft developed by Russia’s Sukhoi Aviation Corporation. It is a multirole fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions.
The Su-30 started out as an internal development project in the Sukhoi Su-27 family by Sukhoi. The design plan was revamped and the name was made official by the Russian Defense Ministry in 1996. Of the Flanker family, only the Su-27, Su-30, Su-34 and Su-35 have been ordered into serial production by the Defense Ministry. All the others, such as Su-37, were prototypes. The Su-30 has two distinct version branches, manufactured by competing organisations: KnAAPO and the Irkut Corporation, both of which come under the Sukhoi group’s umbrella.
KnAAPO manufactures the Su-30MKK and the Su-30MK2, which were designed for and sold to China, and later Indonesia, Venezuela and Vietnam. Due to KnAAPO’s involvement from the early stages of developing Su-35, these are basically a two-seat version of the mid-1990s Su-35. The Chinese chose an older but lighter radar so the canards could be omitted in return for increased payload. It is a fighter with both air superiority and attack capabilities, generally similar to the U.S. F-15E.
Su-30MK2 of the Venezuelan Air ForceSu-30MK of the Indonesian Air ForceSu-30MK2 Vietnamese Air ForceSu-30MK2 Uganda People’s Defence Force Air Wing
Irkut traditionally served the Soviet Air Defense and, in the early years of Flanker development, was given the responsibility of manufacturing the Su-27UB, the two-seat trainer version. When India showed interests in the Su-30, Irkut offered the multirole Su-30MKI, which originated as the Su-27UB modified with avionics appropriate for fighters.
Su-30MKM closeup of canards and unique western IFF forward of cockpit @airplane-pictures.net
Along with its ground-attack capabilities, the series adds features for the air-superiority role, such as canards, thrust-vectoring, and a long-range phased-array radar. Its derivatives include the Su-30MKM, MKA and MKV for Malaysia, Algeria and Venezuela, respectively. The Russian Air force operates several Su-30s and has ordered the Su-30SM version.
Su-30MKI of the Indian Air ForceSu-30MKA of the Algerian Air ForceSu-30MKM of the Malaysian Air Force @airlines.net
The integrated aerodynamic configuration, combined with the thrust vectoring control ability, results in high manoeuvrability and unique takeoff and landing characteristics. Equipped with a digital fly-by-wire system, the Su-30 is able to perform some very advanced manoeuvres, including the Pugachev’s Cobra and the tailslide. These manoeuvers quickly decelerate the aircraft, causing a pursuing fighter to overshoot, as well as breaking a Doppler radar-lock, as the relative speed of the aircraft drops below the threshold where the signal registers to the radar.
The aircraft’s powerplant incorporates two Saturn AL-31F afterburning low-bypass turbofan engines, fed through intake ramps. Two AL-31Fs, each rated at 12,500 kgf (123 kN, 27,550 lb) of full afterburning thrust ensures Mach 2 in level flight, 1,350 km/h speed at low altitude, and a 230 m/s climbing rate.
With a normal fuel reserve of 5,270 kg, the Su-30MK is capable of performing a 4.5-hour combat mission with a range of 3,000 km. An aerial refueling system increases the range to 5,200 km (3,200 mi) or flight duration up to 10 hours at cruise altitudes.
With trust vectoring
The aircraft features autopilot ability at all flight stages including low-altitude flight in terrain-following radar mode, and individual and group combat employment against air and ground/sea-surface targets. Automatic control system interconnected with the navigation system ensures route flight, target approach, recovery to airfield and landing approach in automatic mode.
Several Su-30SMs were sent to Syria in the Russian military intervention in Syria to escort bombers that launch airstrikes against Islamist rebel groups. Su-30SM fighters were reportedly delivered to the al-Assad International Airport in Latakia, Syria in September 2015. At least 4 of Su-30SM fighters were spotted in satellite photo.
Bangladesh Air Force and the ministry of defence announced plans to procure one squadron of Su-30MK2s after the delivery of 16 Yakovlev Yak-130 in 2015.
Thailand formally requested information for the possible acquisition of the Su-30MK/MK2. However, the Saab Gripen was procured instead.
Commercial (export) version of the basic Su-30.
- Sukhoi proposal for upgrading Russian AF single seat Su-27S. Also proposed export version for Indonesia, 24 were ordered but subsequently cancelled due to the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
- Upgrade project for operational two-seat fighters, the Su-27UB, Su-30 and Su-30K. This was cancelled in Russia but later revived as Su-30M2. Belarus consider updating ex-Indian Su-30K to the Su-30KN standard.
- Commercial version of Su-30M first revealed in 1993. Export versions include navigation and communication equipment from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
A version from manufacturer KnAAPO based on the Su-30MK2. The Russian Air Force placed an initial order for the variant in 2009. Factory tests were completed in September 2010. Twenty aircraft have been ordered; 4 in 2009 and 16 in 2012. At least 12 have been produced as of August 2014, all four from the first contract in 2009, and eight from the second contract of 2012. They are mostly to be used as combat training aircraft for upgraded Su-27SM fighters.
- MKI stands for “Modernizirovannyi, Kommercheskiy, Indiski” meaning “Modernized, Commercial, Indian”. Jointly-developed with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian Air Force. Includes thrust vectoring control (TVC) and canards. Equipped with a multinational avionics complex sourced from Russia, India, France and Israel.
Su-30MKI front seatSu-30MKI rear seat
- Export version for China. MKK stands for Modernizirovannyi, Kommercheskiy, Kitayski or “Modernized, Commercial, China”. Its NATO codename is ‘Flanker-G’.
Su-30MKK front seat Su-30MKK rear seatSu-30MKK of the PLAAF
- A derivative of the India-Russian Su-30MKI, the MKM is a highly specialised version for Royal Malaysian Air Force. It includes thrust vectoring control (TVC) and canards but with avionics from various countries. It will feature head-up displays (HUD), navigational forward-looking IR system (NAVFLIR) and Damocles Laser Designation pod (LDP) from Thales Group of France, MAW-300 missile approach warning sensor (MAWS), RWS-50 RWR and laser warning sensor (LWS) from SAAB AVITRONICS (South Africa) as well as the Russian NIIP N011M Bars Passive electronically scanned array radar, electronic warfare (EW) system, optical-location system (OLS) and a glass cockpit.
Su-30MKM front seat Su-30MKM rear seat
- A version of the Su-30MKI, except with French and Russian avionics for Algeria.
Su-30MKA of the Algerian Air Force
- A specialised version of the thrust-vectoring Su-30MKI and MKM variants for the Russian military, produced by the Irkut Corporation. Russia’s Defence Ministry was impressed with the MKI’s performance envelope and ordered 30 Su-30SMs, a localised version of Su-30MKI, for the Russian Air Force. The Su-30SM is considered as 4+ gen jet fighter. The new version has been upgraded based on Russian military requirements for radar, radio communications systems, friend-or-foe identification system, ejection seats, weapons, and other aircraft systems. The aircraft is equipped with the Bars-R radar and the wide-angle HUD. A contract for 60 of the multirole fighter was signed in March 2012 with delivery by 2016. On 21 September 2012 Su-30SM performed its maiden flight.
Su-30SMSu-30SM front seat view notice the wide angle HUDSu-30SM rear seat viewSu-30SM
- Export version for Venezuela.
Su-30MKV Venezuela Air Force
- Su-30MK2 variant for Vietnam with minor modifications.
The airframe of Su-30SM is made of titanium and high-strength aluminium alloys. It is based on the Su-30MKI aircraft developed jointly by IRKUT and JSC Sukhoi Design Bureau, for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The fuselage head houses cockpit, radar sections and avionics bay. High manoeuvrability was achieved through the integral aerodynamic form combined with thrust vectoring feature. (airforce-technology.com)
Su-30SM weapon systems
The Su-30SM is capable of carrying an advanced weapons payload weighing up to 8t. The aircraft can be armed with a machine gun, bombs, air-to-air missiles, and Oniks (Yakhont) supersonic anti-ship and land attack missiles. Developed by NPO Mashinostroyeniya, Oniks served as a basis for the BrahMos supersonic missile. Oniks has an operational range of 120km to 300km depending on altitude.
The aircraft can engage aerial threats, ground and naval surface targets by deploying onboard air-to-air and air-to-surface guided/unguided weapons. It can be fitted with anti-surface weaponry such as rockets and rocket pods for conducting land attack operations.
In Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combat, the Sukhoi will again have a kinematic advantage, which may be exploitable at the bounds of engagement radii, as the Sukhoi can gain separation in and out of the missile envelope of the F/A-18’s and JSF faster – it has the extra thrust and combat fuel to play kinematic games both smaller fighters cannot.
The BVR game is however dominated by sensor capabilities, both onboard and offboard the fighters, and long range missile capabilities. The F/A-18A HUG is wholly outclassed by an Su-30MK with an N011M phased array and R-77M ramjet missile. A late model F/A-18E with minimal external stores and the APG-79 AESA fares much better due to its radar signature reduction measures and better radar power-aperture performance, but with external stores its margin of survivability is eroded and it is likely to fall well within the engagement envelope of the Sukhoi and also come to grief (refer radar/missile plot). A post 2010 AESA equipped Sukhoi could almost certainly take on the F/A-18E with confidence as it will have much better power-aperture capability in the radar, enough to offset the radar signature reduction measures in the F/A-18E/F, with an advanced IRST to supplement radar data. (ausairpower.net)
A clean JSF will have the advantage of a very low X-band radar signature in the forward quarter which will significantly degrade the Sukhoi’s otherwise overwhelming radar power-aperture advantage over other types. However, the JSF is not designed to be a hot supersonic performer and like the F/A-18s will need to generously use afterburner to effect an intercept against a rapidly penetrating Sukhoi. (ausairpower.net)
See Russia unveils Su-30SME fighter export version: HERE
- Algerian Air Force has 44 Su-30MKAs in service and 14 Su-30SMs on order as of 2015.
- Angolan Air Force ordered 18 Su-30K fighters on 16 October 2013 as part of a $1 billion deal that also included other equipment and maintenance services for the country. The Su-30Ks were initially delivered to India in the 1990s, but were returned to Russia in 2007.
- People’s Republic of China
- People’s Liberation Army Air Force operates the Su-30MKK variant. The People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Forceoperates the Su-30MK2 variant. As of 2012 the China operates 76 Su-30MKK and 24 Su-30MK2.
- Indian Air Force operates the Su-30MKI variant. Russia built the early Su-30MKIs; later Su-30MKIs are assembled indigenously under license by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The IAF has 200 Su-30MKIs in service as of August 2014
- Indonesian Air Force (TNI – AU or Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara) has ordered a combined 11 Su-30MK/MK2 fighters. As of September 2013 it has all Su-30MK/MK2s in inventory.
- Kazakh Air Force ordered Su-30SM fighters in February 2015. The first 4 were delivered in early 2015.
- Royal Malaysian Air Force after a close visit to see India’s Su-30MKI, ordered 18 Su-30MKMs in May 2003. The first 2 Su-30MKMs were formally handed over in Irkutsk on 23 May 2007, later arrived in Gong Kedak airbase on 21 June. As part of the contract, Russia sent the first Malaysian cosmonaut to the International Space Station in October 2007. Malaysia has 18 Su-30MKMs in service.
- Russian Federation
- Russian Air Force has 3 Su-30, 16 Su-30M2, and 39 Su-30SM fighters as of November 2015. It ordered 16 Su-30M2 fighters in December 2013, following a previous order for 4 aircraft of that type. A total of 65 Su-30SMs was on order in February 2014, with deliveries to be completed by 2016.
- Russian Naval Aviation – 20 Su-30SMs on order, 50 planned. 8 aircraft were delivered as of September 2015.
- Ugandan Air Force ordered 6 Su-30MK2s in 2010. The last two aircraft from the order were delivered in June 2012.
- Venezuelan Air Force and the government of Venezuela announced on 14 June 2006 the purchase of 24 units of the Su-30MK2. The first two Su-30MK2s arrived in early December 2006 while another 8 were commissioned during 2007; 14 more units arrived in 2008. A second batch of 12 Su-30MKV was also being considered in 2009, it never proceed further. It has 24 Su-30MK2s as of January 2012. In October 2015, Venezuela announced the purchase of 12 more Su-30MK2 from Russia for $480 million.
- Vietnam People’s Air Force operates 4 Su-30MKs and 20 Su-30MK2Vs in 2013. Vietnam reportedly signed a contract for 12 more Su-30MK2s in 2009, but the contract was reduced to 8 fighters.On 20 July 2010, it was announced at Farnborough International Airshow that Vietnam signed a contract for 20 Su-30MK2s. On 21 August 2013, Russia announced it would deliver another batch of 12 Su-30MK2s under a recent $450 million contract, with deliveries in 2014-2015.
- Crew: 2
- Length: 21.935 m (72.97 ft)
- Wingspan: 14.7 m (48.2 ft)
- Height: 6.36 m (20.85 ft)
- Wing area: 62.0 m2 (667 ft2)
- Empty weight: 17,700 kg (39,021 lb)
- Loaded weight: 24,900 kg (54,900 lb) with 56% fuel
- Max. takeoff weight: 34,500 kg (76,060 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × AL-31FL low-bypass turbofans
- Dry thrust: 7,600 kgf (74.5 kN, 16,750 lbf) each
- Thrust with afterburner: 12,500 kgf (122.58 kN, 27,560 lbf) each
- Fuel capacity: 9,400 kg (20,724 lb) internally
- Maximum speed: Mach 2.0 (2,120 km/h, 1,320 mph) at altitude
- Range: 3,000 km (1,620 nmi) at altitude
- Service ceiling: 17,300 m (56,800 ft)
- Rate of climb: 230 m/s (45,275 ft/min)
- Wing loading: 401 kg/m2 with 56% fuel (468.3 kg/m2 with full internal fuel) (82.3 lb/ft2 with 56% fuel)
- With full fuel: 0.86
- With 56% fuel: 1.00
- Maximum g-load: +9 g
The Su-27PU had 8 hardpoints for its weapon load, whereas the Su-30MK’s combat load is mounted on 12 hardpoints: 2 wingtip AAM launch rails, 3 pylons under each wing, 1 pylon under each engine nacelle, and 2 pylons in tandem in the “arch” between the engines. All versions can carry up to 8 tonnes of external stores.
- Guns: 1× GSh-30-1 gun (30 mm calibre, 150 rounds)
- AAMs: 6× R-27ER (AA-10C), 2× R-27ET (AA-10D), 6× R-73E (AA-11), 6× R-77 RVV-AE (AA-12)
- ASMs: 6× Kh-31P/A anti-radar/ship missiles, 6× Kh-29T/L laser guided missiles, 2× Kh-59ME
- Aerial bombs: 6× KAB 500KR, 3× KAB-1500KR, 8× FAB-500T, 28× OFAB-250-270, Nuclear bombs
Notes: O/B – seeker off-boresight acquisition angle; IRH – heatseeking, single or dual colour scanning seeker; SARH – semi-active radar homing seeker; DL – datalink for midcourse guidance corrections – either analogue or digital; IMU – inertial package for midcourse guidance; Passive RF – passive radio frequency anti-radiation seeker; ARH – active radar homing seeker; Acquisition Range is that at which the seeker can acquire its target; Kinematic Range is A-pole or F-pole; Target G – max load factor of target vehicle; Launch G – max load factor of launch aircraft; APU – Aviatsionnaya Puskovaya Ustanovka (rail launcher); AKU – Aviatsionnaya Katapultnaya Ustanovka (ejector); This is a current open source compilation based on manufacturers’ and third party data therefore figures should be treated with appropriate caution (Author). (ausairpower.net)
Updated Dec 27, 2016
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