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Sukhoi Su-30

Multi-role fighter


The Su-30 is essentially a two-seat multi-role fighter version of the Su-27

Country of origin Russia
Entered service 1992
Crew 2 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 21.9 m
Wing span 14.7 m
Height 6.4 m
Weight (empty) 17.7 t
Weight (maximum take off) 34.5 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x Saturn AL-31F turbofans
Traction (dry / with afterburning) 2 x 74.5 / 123 kN
Maximum speed 2 120 km/h
Service ceiling 17.3 km
Range 3 000 km
Cannon 1 x 30 mm cannon (150 rounds)
Missiles R-27ER, R-27ET, R-73E, R-77 air-to-air missiles; Kh-31P, Kh-31A,Kh-29T, Kh-29L, Kh-59ME air-to-surface missiles
Bombs KAB-500KR, KAB-1500KR laser-guided bombs, FAB-500T, OFAB-250-270 free-fall bombs,  cluster and nuclear bombs


   The Su-30 is a two-seat multi-role fighter variant of the Su-27. Initially it was known as Su-27PU. It evolved form the Su-27UB two-seat combat trainer version, but was fitted with new avionics and had an added ground attack capability. Essentially it was an improved capability variant of the Su-27. This aircraft made its maiden flight in 1986. Production began in 1992. It was renamed the Su-30 only in 1996. Its reporting name in the West is Flanker-C. To date more than 200 of these aircraft have been built in Russia. Also India produces a version this aircraft locally under license.

   The Su-30 is currently used by the Russian Air Force. However only several original Su-30 aircraft are operational. Recently Russia is obtaining a newer version of this aircraft - the Su-30SM.

   The Su-30 received a number of export orders. Variants of this aircraft have been exported to Algeria, Angola, Armenia, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Venezuela, Vietnam and Uganda.

   The Su-30 retains the Su-27s basic layout, construction of the airframe, engines, most of its wing structure, tail and substantial part of onboard equipment. Some versions of the Su-30 use canards and thrust-vectoring engines for improved maneuverability. This aircraft also has a long-range phased-array radar. In terms of capabilities the Su-30 is broadly similar to the US F-15E Strike Eagle.

   This aircraft is armed with a built-in 30-mm GSh-301 cannon with 150 rounds of ammunition. It has a number of underwing hardpoints and can carry up to 8 000 kg of ordnance including air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, cluster and laser-guided bombs, or unguided rockets. It is worth noting that the original Su-27PU had 8 hardpoints, while improved Su-30MK has 12.

   The Su-30 is powered by two Saturn AL-31F afterburning turbofan engines.

   This aircraft has long range. With normal fuel reserves it has a range of 3 000 km and can perform a 4-5 hour combat mission. Furthermore it has an in-flight refueling probe, so the range can be increased to 5 200 km and flight duration to up to 10 hours.

   There are numerous versions of the Su-30. Some of them were specially tailored to meet requirements of particular customers. So performance and capabilities slightly varies from version to version.




   Su-30K. Export version. It has been exported to India.

   Su-30KN. Upgrade project for operational two-seat fighters, the Su-27UB, Su-30 and Su-30K. This program was cancelled with only a prototype built. Later it was revised as Su-30M2.

   Su-30MK. Improved export version. It was first revealed in 1993.

   Su-30MKI. Improved export version for India. It was jointly developed with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Its reporting name in the West is Flanker-H. This aircraft uses some of the cancelled Su-37 technology, such as the thrust vectoring engines, canards, improved radar systems and avionics. Its avionics was sourced from India, Russia, France and Israel. Russia delivered the first aircraft but later this aircraft was license-produced locally by HAL. As of 2015 India operated around 200 of these aircraft. However the Su-30MKI fighter was notorious for crashes. By 2019 India lost 11 Su-30MKI.

   Su-30MKM. Improved export version for Malaysia. It is a derivative of the Su-30MKI, but lacks canards. This aircraft uses a number of subsystems from other countries. First aircraft were delivered in 2007. As of 2015 Malaysia operates 18 of these aircraft.

   Su-30MKA. Improved export version for Algeria. It lacks canards and is fitted with French and Russian avionics. A total of 58 of these aircraft were ordered.

   Su-30MKK. Improved export version for China. It is used by Chinese air force. Its reporting name in the West is Flanker-G. In Chinese Air Force use these aircraft for the long-range strike role. By 2012 China operated 76 of these aircraft. This version has also been exported to Indonesia.

   Su-30MK2 is an improved export version. It is a further development of the Su-30MKK. It has been exported to China (used by naval aviation). By 2012 a total of 24 were in service with China. This fighter plane has also been exported to Venezuela, Vietnam and Uganda. This aircraft lacks canards.

   Su-30MKV is an improved export version for Venezuela. It evolved from the Su-30MK2.

   Su-30M2 upgraded version, based on the Su-30MK2. Russian Air Force ordered 20 of these aircraft. By 2014 at least 12 were produced.

   Su-30SM is a multi-role fighter, used by the Russian Air Force and Naval Aviation. It is an improved variant of the Su-30MKI with an improved radar, weapons systems, communication system and ejection seats. It made its first flight in 2012. Russia ordered a number of these aircraft. By 2015 at least 39 were delivered. The Su-30SM has been exported to Kazakhstan. By 2015 at least 4 of these aircraft were delivered.

   J-16 is a Chinese twin seat multi-role fighter, produced by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. Even though it is not direct derivative of the Su-30, but is very similar in form and function. It is an advanced version of J-11 air superiority fighter (China's version of the Su-27), but fitted with indigenous electronics.




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