Sukhoi Su-30

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A Russian Air Force Su-30SM in flight.

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-33, 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.

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. Along with its ground-attack capabilities, the series adds features for the air-superiority role, such as canards, thrust-vectoring, and a long-range phase-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.

Variants[edit | edit source]

  • Sukhoi Su-30: Modernized Su-27UB. Six units operated by the Russian Air Defence Forces.
  • Sukhoi Su-30K: Commercial (export) version of the basic Su-30. The Indian Air Force briefly operated some Su-30Ks in the late 1990s.
  • Sukhoi Su-30KI: Upgrade for single seat Su-27S. Indonesia purchased 24 aircraft in the 1990s.
  • Sukhoi Su-30KN:' 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.
  • Sukhoi Su-30MK: Commercial version of Su-30M first revealed in 1993. Export versions include navigation and communication equipment from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
  • Sukhoi Su-30MKI: MKI stands for "Modernizirovannyi, Kommercheskiy, Indiski" meaning "Modernized, Commercial, Indian". Jointly-developed with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian Air Force. It is the first Su-30 family member to feature thrust vectoring control (TVC) and canards. Equipped with a multinational avionics complex sourced from Russia, India, France and Israel.
  • Sukhoi Su-30MKA: A version of the Su-30MKI, except with French and Russian avionics for Algeria.
  • Sukhoi Su-30MKK: Export version for China. MKK stands for Modernizirovannyi, Kommercheskiy, Kitayski or "Modernized, Commercial, China". Its NATO codename is Flanker-G.
  • Sukhoi Su-30MKM: A derivative of the India-Russian Su-30MKI, the MKM is a highly specialized 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.
  • Sukhoi Su-30MK2: Modernized Su-30MKK for China, Indonesia and Uganda with advanced avionics and weapons.
  • Sukhoi Su-30MK2V: Su-30MK2 variant for Vietnam with minor modifications.
  • Sukhoi Su-39MKV: Export version of Su-30MK2 for Venezuela.
  • Sukhoi Su-30SM: A specialized 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 thirty Su-30SMs, a localized 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 September 21st 2012 Su-30SM performed its maiden flight.
  • Sukhoi Su-30SM2: 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; four in 2009 and sixteen in 2012. At least twelve 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.
  • Sukhoi Su-30SME: Proposed export version of Su-30SM unveiled at the Singapore Airshow 2016.
  • Sukhoi Su-30SM1/SMD: An upgrade project of Russian Su-30SM fighters, equipped with the N035 Irbis radar and more powerful AL-41F1S engines of the Su-35S, with the goal to reduce operational costs when unifying the two fighters. The modernized fighters will also obtain new types of weapons, namely the KAB-250 aerial bombs and Kh-59MK2 stealth cruise missile. Over time, it is planned to upgrade all Russia's Su-30SMs to the SM1 standard. First deliveries are scheduled for end-2020.

Users[edit | edit source]

  • Algeria
    • Algerian Air Force x 52 Su-30MKA with another 14 on order
  • Angola
    • Angolan Air Force x 12 Su-30K
  • Armenia
    • Armenian Air Force x 0 Su-30SM - 4+ on order
  • Bangladesh
    • Bangladesh Air Force x 8 Su-30SME
  • Belarus
    • Belarusian Air Force x 12 Su-30SM
  • China
    • People's Liberation Army Air Force x 76 Su-30MKK
    • People's Liberation Army Navy x 24 Su-30MK2
  • India
  • Indonesia
    • Indonesian Air Force x 36 Su-30KI/MK/MK2
  • Kazakhstan
    • Kazakh Air Force x 24 Su-30SM
  • Malaysia
    • Royal Malaysian Air Force x 18 Su-30MKM
  • Myanmar
    • Myanmar Air Force x 6 Su-30SM
  • Russia
    • Russian Air Force x 130 Su-30M2/SM
    • Russian Navy x 28 Su-30SMs with another 22 on order
  • Uganda
    • Ugandan Air Force x 6 Su-30MK2
  • Venezuela
    • Venezuelan Air Force x 36 Su-30MKV with another 12 on order
  • Vietnam
    • Vietnam People's Air Force x 36 Su-30MK/MK2V

See Also[edit | edit source]

Related[edit | edit source]

Comparable Aircraft[edit | edit source]