On February 6, the Russian military publication Jane’s gave an interesting assessment of the Russian fourth-generation multi-role fighter Su-30MKI, expressed by retired Indian Air Force Marshal Daljit Singh. In short, the aircraft can no longer be considered advanced, and we are talking about key performance indicators.
The Su-30MKI Flanker currently forms the mainstay of the Indian Air Force’s combat fleet, with 11 of the service’s 27 fighter squadrons comprised of the aircraft and additional squadrons planned. Currently, Indian airforce has 272 Su-30mki fighter in the inventory. The aircraft represents a significant enhancement over the original Su-27 Flanker, the Soviet Air Force’s most capable air superiority fighter which was designed to be able to counter all platforms in service in the Western Bloc at the time, and integrated new capabilities from its modern sensors, more powerful thrust vectoring capable engines and high composite airframe. The platform inherited the Su-27’s advanced air to air combat capabilities, but was capable of deploying a new generation of munitions and electronic warfare systems and had an avionics suite which not only made it more capable in an air superiority role – but also well suited to strike and maritime strike roles. Depending on its configuration, the Su-30MKI thus emerged as a truly multirole aircraft which excelled in all roles it was allocated – from a bomber using the SPICE 2000, a ship hunter or strike fighter using the BrahMos, an AWACS hunter using the K-100 or an air superiority fighter using the R-27ER and R-77.
Better than the rest?
In the case of India, everything is even more interesting: the Su-30MKI still is the backbone of the country’s air force. Recall that India withdrew from the program of creating a fifth-generation Russian-Indian fighter based on the Su-57, previously known as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). And the number of purchased French Dassault Rafale was reduced to 36 units: the “contract of the century” (MMRCA) ended, one might say, ingloriously. Frankly speaking, the rest of the Indian Air Force fighters, are outdated and very much. This applies to the MiG-29, and the Jaguar, and the MiG-21. Upgraded fighters still can service some more years.
Super Sukhoi 30MKI Features
- Improved Air-frame with 6000 flying hrs same as SU35-S
- Chassis wheels braking system
- Upgraded AL-31F production engines with 5th gen capabilities
- Forward-facing NIIP N011M Bars
- Fly by wire (FBW) with quadruple redundancy
- Israeli Elbit SU 967 head-up display along with bi-cubic phase conjugated holographic displays & Seven liquid crystal multi-function displays.
- Modern digital weapons control system as well as more advanced anti-jamming features.
- The Israeli-made LITENING targeting pod
- Integration with Bhramhos & Astra
- AESA Radar
Recall that countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka do not have fifth generation fighters: neither their own nor purchased abroad. At the same time, the total number of Dassault Rafale is not enough for a regional “revolution”, although the machines can have their say in a local conflict.