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Su-30MK Advanced Flanker | Su-30MKI






Su-30MK
The tandem seat Su-30 , first seen at Farnborough in 1996. Baseline PVO Su-30 was a beefed up dual-seat Su-27UB trainer which then was designated the Su-27PU after modifications to accommodate an actual mission-qualified pilot were put in the back-seat for extended range PVO missions.

In general, Su-30 is a dual-seat full-system Su-27 interceptor with refueling probe, provisions for external fuel tanks, beefed up structure, improved ECM, and a slightly modified comm/oxygen interface block with the RD-36 ejection seat. The Russian home PVO variant is related to the multi-role or "MKI" export variants being sold around the world. The laser-optical locator system is advertised to include a day and night FLIR capability and is used in conjunction with the Helmet mounted sighting system. The onboard countermeasures suite includes an illumination warning system, an active jamming station, and passive dispensers for chaff and flares.
Su-30 is capable of performing all tactical tasks of the Su-24 "Fencer" deep interdiction tactical bomber and the Su-27 "Flanker A/B/C" air superiority fighter while having around twice the combat range and 2.5 times the combat effectiveness (Sukhoi numbers).
In the early 1990's, the Su-30 supposedly found itself in competition with the Su-27IB side-by-side configured Flanker prototype, but there may be a lot of misinformation with these claims. The Su-30 was reported as early as January 1993 as being "in service" with the Russian Air Force and in series production at the Irkutsk Factory. At that time a modified and beefed-up dual-seat Su-27PU was being tested on long range flights, one of which went from Moscow to Komsomolsk in 15 hours and 31 minutes with air refueling. This evidently became the Su-30. Sukhoi then proposed a Su-30 to the Russian Air Force as a dual-seat command post fighter that would designate targets for accompanying aircraft, a clear add-on or replacement for the MiG-31 Foxhound fleet that was having serious maintainability problems.

The visual differences from basic Su-27(red marks) and Su-30 predecessor - Su-27UB(green marks):
  • IR sight moved to right side of canopy(1)
  • Refueling system is installed(2)
  • More advanced avionics and cockpit instruments(3)
  • Two-weel nose gear(4)
  • Trainer seat replaced by the operator equipment(5)
  • Larger tail-planes(6)






Su-30MKI
The Indian Air Force formally inducted its first eight Su-30 aircraft in a ceremony at Lohegaon Air Base, near Pune, in early July. This was barely six months after the $1.8 billion contract to supply 40 aircraft was confirmed, and officially described as Su-30's. The first batch of eight appear to be an enhanced Su-27PU variant which become the Su-30, modified again with an Indian particular navigation kit. News reports also eluded to the possibility that the InAF would return them at some later date. Another option was mentioned that over the next four years Sukhoi would upgrade these eight aircraft to full Su-30MKI status while delivering the 32 x Su-30MKIs in three batches. Deputy Sukhoi Designer Alexander Bartkovski said that the eight aircraft were shipped to India in An-124 Ruslan aircraft from the Irkutsk Aviation Production Association (IAPO) factory. Indian pilots are being trained in groups of ten at the Zhukovski Test Center.

As usual, things change, and the contract appears to have been changed top allow the new production aircraft to be delivered with canards and thrust-vectoring control (TVC) engines from the outset. The main difference being that the vectored thrust nozzle assembly would be applied to standard Lyulka-Saturn AL-31F turbofans rather than the AL-37FU's fitted to the Su-37 prototype.


The visual differences from basic Su-27(red marks) and predecessor - Su-30MK(green marks):
  • IR sight moved to right side of canopy(1)
  • Refueling system is installed(2)
  • More advanced avionics and cockpit instruments(3)
  • Two-weel nose gear(4)
  • Trainer seat replaced by the operator equipment(5)
  • Canard foreplanes(6)
  • Larger tail-planes(7)
  • Thrust-vectoring control engines(8)