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Russian defense industry to ‘breathe new life’ into Su-30SM fighter jet

The heavily upgraded Su-30SM plane may open a new niche for Russia in India, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said
Su-30SM fighter jet Donat Sorokin/TASS
Su-30SM fighter jet
© Donat Sorokin/TASS

IRKUTSK, February 26. /TASS/. The Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jet will be standardized with the generation 4++ Su-35 fighter by 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 on Tuesday.

"After completing the work on the Su-30SM upgrade, changing the layout of the onboard radio-electronic equipment to make the Su-35 and the Su-30SM more standardized and thus cut the cost price, and standardizing the airborne weapon systems, this may breathe a new life into the plane," the vice-premier said.

The heavily upgraded Su-30SM plane may open a new niche for Russia in India, he noted.

"Considering that there are about 200 such planes in India [the Su-30MKI as the baseline version of the Su-30SM], an opportunity will probably open for modernizing this fleet to prolong its service life," the vice-premier explained.

Under Russia’s diversification program and amid the declining volume of the defense procurement plan, domestic defense enterprises should shift their focus towards life cycle maintenance and upgrade, Borisov noted.

‘It is necessary to move towards diversification and towards gaining foothold on the civil market. This is what we will have to do under the national project and as part of investment programs of our fuel and energy companies," the vice-premier said.

TASS reported in September 2018 that during their upgrade the Su-30SM fighters would also get AL-41F-1S engines mounted on the Su-35 planes. It was also reported in January 2019 that the trials of the modernized Su-30SM multirole fighter jets were expected to be completed before the end of 2019.

Su-30SM upgrade

The Su-30SM is being upgraded by the Irkut Aircraft Corporation and the Sukhoi Design Bureau on the assignment of Russia’s Defense Ministry with the involvement of leading Russian defense enterprises. The upgrade will boost the fighter’s combat capabilities: it will increase the range of detecting and identifying air targets and furnish the plane with new precision weapons to hit air, ground and sea targets at a range of several hundred kilometers.

The Su-30SM is a multirole supermaneuverable heavy fighter equipped with a phased array radar and canard panels. The fighters of this type are furnished with the AL-31FP engine derived from the AL-31F baseline motor of the Su-27 plane. It is distinguished by its thrust vectoring and the increased service life.

The Su-35 is a Russian-made multipurpose generation 4++ super-maneuverable fighter jet equipped with a phased array radar and steerable thrusters. The fighter is equipped with the AL-41F-1S engine, which allows it developing supersonic speed without an afterburner thrust. The experimental AL-41F-1 turbojet engine performs the function of the first-stage powerplant for the Su-57 (PAK FA) fifth-generation fighter.