The first Russian Su-30S® will come into service in 2021

Although primarily developed before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Su30 is generally considered the first Russian fighter of the post-Soviet period. This aircraft, a multi-mission two-seater version of the Su-27, has been widely used by the Russian air forces since its entry into service in 1996. It was also selected by India to constitute the backbone of the IAF, with more than 250 Su30MKI aircraft ordered, as well as by China (150 aircraft), Algeria (58 aircraft) and Venezuela (30 aircraft). A total of 12 countries purchased the Su30 from Russia, with more than 550 units built today.

The Russian aircraft, in its SM standard, however, is reaching its limits today, both in terms of aeronautical performance and on-board equipment. The Russian authorities therefore decided, in 2018, to study a new standard allowing the approximately 120 Su-30SM which will be in service in the country's air and naval forces to remain a front-line aircraft, while rationalizing the maintenance of the fleet. , since today, the Russian air forces use no less than 10 different aircraft models, ranging from the Su-25 to the Mig31, including the Su-24 and the Su-35.

No35 Irbis Defense News | Fighter aircraft | Military aircraft construction
We become aware of the size of the No35 Irbis radar in this photo during a show

The new standard of the plane, which will enter service from 2021, previously called Su-30SMD (D for Digital), will see the aircraft equipped with the AL41F reactors from the Su-35 instead of the AL31s currently used. The new reactors offer greater thrust (+1 ton dry, +2 tons with PC per reactor), while reducing consumption by 15 to 20%, and maintain dimensions very close to those of the AL31, allowing adaptation without modification deep in the cell of the devices. In addition, they will receive the Su35's No35 Irbis radar, considered today to be the best PESA radar of the moment, and offering performance considered comparable to that of many Western AESA radars. Other modifications, such as the standardization of cockpits with multifunction screens, the HUD, or the electronic warfare suite, will make the Su30SMD an aircraft technically very close to the Su35s in service.

This new version will also allow, as highlighted the RedSamovar blog in its folder dedicated to this evolution, to propose to India an evolution for the Su30MKI, so as to maintain the predominant role of the device while the Rafale will soon enter service.

Regardless, the Su30SMD will likely remain in the inventories of several major world air forces for many years to come. With this evolution, it comes close to the developments of the F15 Strike Eagle, a heavy aircraft that can both play the role of bomb truck and battlefield manager thanks to its powerful radar and its large radius of action. , and its crew doubles.

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