Su-30SM is a multirole fighter aircraft developed by JSC Sukhoi Design Bureau for the Russian Air Force. It is an advanced derivative of the Su-30MK combat aircraft family.
The Su-30MK series fighters are in service with the Algerian Air Force, Angolan Air Force, Armenian Air Force, Belarusian Air Force, Indian Air Force (IAF), Indonesian Air Force, Kazakh Air Force, People’s Liberation Army Air Force, People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force, Royal Malaysian Air Force, Ugandan Air Force, Venezuelan Air Force and Vietnam People’s Air Force.
The Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter was designed in accordance with the requirements of the Russian Air Force. It is being manufactured by IRKUT, a company based in Russia. The first Su-30SM fighter designed for the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) performed its maiden flight in September 2012.
The multirole Su-30SM can be deployed in counter-air strikes, counter-land and counter-sea missions. It can conduct electronic counter-countermeasures and early warning tasks. The aircraft also acts as a command-and-control platform within a fleet of combat aircraft performing joint missions.
Sukhoi Su-30SM orders and deliveries
IRKUT and the Russian MoD signed a contract for 30 Su-30SM multirole fighters in March 2012. The MoD plans to replace the Su-24 fleet with Su-30SM fighters.
The MoD placed an order for the second batch of 30 Su-30SM fighters in December 2012. IRKUT delivered the first two Su-30SM fighters to the Russian Air Force in November 2012.
The Russian Air Force received four Su-30SM aircraft in February 2016 and Russian Knights, an aerobatic demonstration team of the Russian Air Force, received eight units in the year. IRKUT delivered four units to the Kursk Aviation Regiment of the Western Military District (ZVO) in July 2017.
The company handed over the first batch of Su-30SM multirole fighters to the Kazakhstan Air Force in April 2015.
The Ministry of Defense of Kazakhstan signed a contract with IRKUT for another batch of aircraft in May 2018. The aircraft deliveries are expected to be completed in 2020.
The first batch of Su-30SM fighter aircraft was delivered to Belarusian Air Force in November 2019. Belarus is expected to receive a total of 12 aircraft.
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 IAF.
The fuselage head has a cockpit, radar sections and avionics bay. High manoeuvrability was achieved through the integral aerodynamic form combined with a thrust vectoring feature.
Cockpit and avionics
The glass cockpit accommodates two pilots in tandem configuration. The crew are provided with ejection seats. The cockpit incorporates an advanced avionics suite integrating a head-up display and liquid crystal multifunction displays.
The Sukhoi Su-30SM features identification friend-or-foe equipment, a global positioning system and an inertial navigation system. The open architecture design allows the integration of modern avionics, including a new radar system, radio and recognition system and other support systems.
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 and 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.
The fighter is powered by two AL-31FP by-pass turbojet reheated engines. The engines generate a total after-burning thrust of 25,000kgf. The power plant provides a horizontal flight speed of Mach 2.
The maximum unrefueled flight range of Su-30SM is 3,000km with a flight endurance of 3.5 hours. The aircraft is also equipped with a flight refuelling probe and system.
Su-30SM landing gear
The Su-30SM features hydraulically retractable tricycle-type landing gear. The main landing gear units are fitted with single wheels. Each unit reverses through 90° to retract frontward into the bay in the wing-root.
The main landing gear has hydraulically functioned carbon disc brakes equipped with an electric brake cooling fan and an anti-skid mechanism. The forward retractable single nose-wheel is hydraulically steerable. The tail-cone at the stern of the fuselage integrates a brake parachute compartment.