Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Is The Indian Air Force A Potential Buyer For The New Russian Super Sukhoi Fighter Jets?

The Russian Air Force and Navy will soon receive the Su-30SM2 fighter jet, which is an improved version of Su-30SM with updated weapons, said Yuri Slyusar, the head of the United Aircraft Corporation, reported the local media.

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov hinted to the reporters that the new Su-30SM fighter may open a new market for the fighter jets in India.

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The Su-30SM2 is an improved version of Su-30SM which was showcased at the Army 2020 international military and technical forum. The biggest customer at the forum was the Russian Defense Ministry signing with Russian defense companies including the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and Star Shipbuilding Center for Su-35S/Su-34/Su-30SM2 fighters and Kilo/Lada submarines respectively. 

Is The Indian Air Force A Potential Buyer For The New Russian Super Sukhoi Fighter Jets?

The Su-30SM is a super-maneuverable multi-role fighter that was created according to the specifications of the Russian Aerospace Forces. It is a modernized 4+ generation version of the original Russian Su-30 fighter aircraft.

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Being a supermaneuverable jet, it is one of the world’s finest dogfighters with upgrades being done to equip it with credible BVR engagement options (beyond visual range).

File:Sukhoi Su-30SM in flight 2014.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

There isn’t much known about the specifics of Su-30SM but Borisov spilled some beans in 2019. “The Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jet will be standardized with the 4++ generation Su-35 fighter by upgrading its onboard equipment and armament to cut its cost price and breathe a new life into the plane,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told journalists in February 2019.

“They [Su-30SM2] will be delivered both in the interests of the army itself and in the interests of the Navy,” Slyusar said. Another local media report said that the new Sukhoi fighter will have AL-41F1S engine from the Su-35S which will be installed on the plane.

“Compared to the engine of the Su-30SM AL-31FP fighter jet, the thrust of the product is 16 percent higher and amounts to 14 kg,” wrote Military Review.

“The service life of an aircraft engine is twice as high as compared to the base product: it is four thousand hours. It is important to say that the weight and dimensions have remained the same,” it further added. 

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The Su-30 is the backbone of the Indian Air Force, which operates around 272 Su-30MKI jets, a unique version specifically designed for India. The Indian Su-30MKI possesses advanced Israeli avionics and electronic warfare systems, making them different from the standard Su-30s.

Is The Indian Air Force A Potential Buyer For The New Russian Super Sukhoi Fighter Jets?

Additionally, the Su-30 MKI has a variety of missiles in its armory including the Russian origin R73/77 and locally developed Astra and Brahmos missiles. 

“Considering that there are about 200 such planes in India, an opportunity will probably open for modernizing this fleet (to the standards of the Su-30SM2) to prolong its service life,” said Borisov as reported by Defence World. 

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The aircraft will also be able to carry larger weaponry, including Kh-59MK2 high-precision air-to-ground missiles and KAB-250 guided bombs. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu may have referred to this modification when announcing the Su-30SM2 procurement, reported Shephard. 

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In the backdrop of India, China border conflict, the Indian Defence Ministry is ramping up its military acquisitions. After the violent Galwan valley clash in June, Defence Minister Rajnath Sigh visited Moscow and approved proposals to acquire 21 Mig29 and 12 Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft. It would be a big boost to the IAF if New Delhi decides to order the new Su-30SM2. 

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