Traction for the better: Su-30SM fighters will receive a super-powerful upgrade

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Russian Su-30SM fighters will be modernized. They will be upgraded to the SM2 Super-Sukhoi modification. The vehicles will receive an engine of increased maneuverability, as well as unique radars. In addition, their arsenal will be significantly expanded. It will include the latest guided bombs and missiles. According to experts, such modernization will significantly increase the potential of Russian military aviation.

All for the “deuce”

As sources in the military department told Izvestia, a fundamental decision to modernize the Su-30SM fleet to the level of CM2 has already been made. It is planned that the work will be completed by 2027. The upgrade will include not only the fighters of the Aerospace Forces, but also the naval aviation. True, according to the interlocutors of the publication, the exact number of “thirty”, which will be upgraded to the level of the Su-30SM2, has not yet been determined.

Currently, the Russian military department has already signed a contract for the supply of just over two dozen Su-30s in the SM2 version. This was announced last year by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The total cost of the order will amount to over RUB 100 billion. But these cars will be built from scratch. It is planned that they will replenish the fleet of two naval assault aviation regiments, as well as at least one squadron of the Aerospace Forces.

Now the 30th series “Sukhoi” in the basic version of the SM is the most numerous type of modern fighters in service with Russia. The VKS and naval aviation of the Navy today numbers about 130 aircraft. Su-30SM were also delivered to the armed forces of the CSTO member countries. Several dozen Su-30SMs were purchased by Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

military aircraft Su-30SM

Military aircraft Su-30SM

Photo: Izvestia / Alexey Maishev

Since 2015, domestic engineers began to work on increasing the combat capabilities of the Su-30SM. In particular, it was decided to unify the Su-30SM and Su-35S as much as possible. For this, preparations began for a variant of the “thirty” with a new engine, as well as the study of the possibility of installing a much more powerful radar “Irbis” instead of the current “Bars” on the fighter. The index of this variant was changed to Su-30SM2.

As part of the modernization, the developers are solving the problem of installing the AL-41F-1S engine on the Su-30SM2, which is equipped with the super-maneuverable Su-35S fighters. Compared to the current power plant of the Su-30SM, the thrust of the new “engine” has been increased by 16%, up to 14,500 kgf. The service life of the aircraft engine doubled at once, up to 4 thousand hours, without increasing the mass and dimensions. Equipped with a plasma ignition system, the AL-41F-1S is more economical than the AL-31FP, which is currently installed on the “thirty”. With the same amount of fuel, the fighter will be able to stay in the air longer. In addition, the onboard electronics, radar and optical location station have been improved.

Fighter Su-35

Fighter Su-35

Photo: RIA Novosti / Grigory Sysoev

Also at the present time there is a development work, which received the designation “Adaptation-Su”. As Izvestia previously wrote, within its framework, the Su-30SM and Su-30SM2 are being finalized for the use of new air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, including hypersonic ones.

“Any modernization of the aircraft, first of all, allows the pilot to see further with the help of radar equipment,” Honored Test Pilot Hero of Russia Igor Malikov told Izvestia. – And the further you see the goal, the faster you can make a decision. The planned modernization is highly advisable. In order not to be shot down, you must see far and shoot far. It is ranged combat that is in great demand now.

the hit of the season

According to the ex-commander of the 4th Air Force and Air Defense Army, Lieutenant General Valery Gorbenko, each modification or even more new aircraft has more combat capabilities compared to the previous ones, in this case in front of the Su-30.

– The updated propulsion system, firstly, gives a decrease in fuel consumption, and secondly, due to this, with the same fuel reserve, the flight range increases. The improved radar enhances the ability to determine the accuracy and detection range of the enemy, – he said.

The Su-30SM for the Russian armed forces was created on the basis of a perfectly developed export version of the Su-30MK, which became a hit on the international arms market at the turn of the century. More than 300 aircraft of this family were delivered to India, Algeria and Malaysia. The use of such a platform made it possible to quickly create its modification for our country and quickly deploy mass production.

Aircraft Su-30MK

Aircraft Su-30MK

Photo: TASS / Vedomosti / Evgeny Stetsko

In March 2012, the Ministry of Defense signed the first contract for the supply of 30 Su-30SM fighters. Already in November 2013, the starting troika entered service.

Earlier, Izvestia reported that the first modernized Su-34 NVO bombers arrived in the Aerospace Forces unit. One of the main innovations in the modern version is powerful reconnaissance equipment and a target designation system. This increases the crew’s ability to detect targets and allows the aircraft to use an expanded arsenal of strike weapons. Another of the most important features of the Su-34 NVO was the ability to use unified suspended reconnaissance containers. Three versions of them have been developed: optoelectronic, radio engineering and radar. With their help, the aircraft will be able to independently detect ground, sea and air targets in any weather at a greater distance than before.