The Sukhoi SU-30SM is a advanced varient of the Su-30MK combat aircraft family. The Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter was designed in accordance with the requirements of the Russian Air Force. It is manufactured by IRKUT, a company based in Russia. This fighter has multi-role capabilities, it is able to perform a wide variety of combat missions. The Russian Air Force is said to have locked the sky over Ukraine thanks to the modern Su-30SM multi-role fighter. So what are the capabilities of this aircraft and how it has helped the Russian Armed Forces in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War.
The Russian Ministry of Defense recently published some videos and photographs showing the Russian Su-30SM Fighter launching air-to-air missiles to destroy Ukrainian Fighter Aircrafts, these published pictures and video clips has got good attention from the media.
“The crew of the multi-role fighter Su-30SM of the Russian Aerospace Forces during the special military operation defended the skies of Donbass, neutralizing enemy aircrafts with the most advanced missiles.”
Honored Russian military pilot Major General Vladimir Popov said in a interview with PolitExpert that he is not at all surprised that the Su-30SM fighter can successfully complete all missions.
“The Su-30SM is the main fighter of the Russian Air Force and the Russian Navy today, these combat vehicles first of all have shown excellent performance in many exercises with foreign military partners.”
This Multi-role fighter can easily operate in many types of battlefields, against a wide variety of targets in the air, at sea as well as on the ground.
“This is exactly why the Su-30SM is actively used not only by the Russian Aerospace Forces, but also by the Russian Naval Aviation, “Major General Popov said.
Mr. Popov went on to say that the Su-30SM fighters with super-maneuverability represents the 4++generation. However, in terms of combat potential and the weapons it carries, the fighter is comparable to the latest generation of aircrafts.
The Commander of the special military operation, General Sergei Surovikin, also appreciated the Su-30SM role in the Ukrainian War.
He highly appreciated the Sukhoi Su-30SM.
The overall role of the Su-30SM fighter becomes even more special and important when the russian Fifth-generation fighter, the Sukhoi Su-57 has been produced in little numbers.
“Compared to the Su-30SM, the Su-57s are many times more efficient, but they are also significantly expensive, given the conditions of the Russian Economy today, mass production of this Su-57 is very difficult.”
“Currently, we are exploiting very efficiently the fighters of 4+ and 4++ generation. However fighters we have are very good.”
Currently, Su-35 and Su-30SM are considered as two main russian fighters that are actively operating in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
Technical details of the Su-30SM Multirole Fighter
The Su-30SM is made up of high-strength aluminium alloys and titanium. The aircraft fuselage head has a cockpit, radar sections and avionics bay. The aircraft high manoeuvrability is achieved through the integral aerodynamic form combined with a thrust vectoring feature.
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.
The Su-30SM is equipped with cutting-edge technologies, the aircraft has been upgraded according to Russian military requirements for radar, radio communications systems, friend-or-foe identification system, ejection seats, weapons, and other aircraft systems. It is equipped with the N011M Bars radar with a maximum detection range 400 km, search range 200 km using a phased array antenna, frontal horizontal fins and steerable thrusters for supermaneuverability as well as with wide-angle HUD.
The aircraft can be used to gain air supremacy same as for targeting adversary on the ground using wide range of weapons including air-to-air, air-to-surface and guided and unguided bombs with total weapons weight up to 8,000 kg. It is also equipped with the one barrel, 30 mm GSh-30-1 autocannon.
To ensure operations at major distances from airfield, the ability of in-flight refueling (IFR) is included. Besides that, for electronic warfare purposes two SAP-518 jamming pods can be fitted on the wing tips. The SAP-518 is designed to protect the aircraft from various air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles by creating false targets, jamming missile’s guidance, enemy aircraft radars or ground and seaborne air defence.