Saturday, 22 September 2012

SU-30SM Multi Role Fighter Marks First Maiden Flight

 The first multirole fighter aircraft from the Sukhoi stable, designated the SU-30SM marked its maiden flight at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant in Russia today. A statement from the Sukhoi Design Bureau said that the Su-30SM multirole fighter is the further development of the Su-30MK combat aircraft family. JSC Sukhoi Design Bureau’ specialists designed the fighter in accordance with the requirements of the Russian Air Force in terms of radar system, radio and recognition system, ejection seats and a number of support systems. The weaponry configuration was changed as well.

The multirole configuration will allow the SU-30SM to perform air superiority as well as ground attack roles. Traditionally, Russian fighters are not known for their ground attack capability barring the MiG-21 which has been retired by many air forces and is on its way out in India, its biggest foreign customer.

The contract on 30 multirole fighters’ delivery by 2015 was signed between the Russian Ministry of Defence and JSC IRKUT Corporation in March 2012. Anatoly Serdyukov, the Russian Defence Minister has noted that the modern two-seat supermanoeuverable SU-30SM aircraft into the Russian Armed Forces will significantly increase the combat power of the Russian Air Force. Moreover, technical capabilities of the fighter allow achieving a higher level of pilot training, which is especially important due to the increasing procurement of new generation combat aircraft.

The multirole SU-30SM will compete directly with western aircraft such as the F-16, the Eurofighter and the Rafale and can be considered to be a 4.5 generation fighter. Needless to say, the SU-30SM, if inducted early into the Russian Air Force, could prove to be a formidable competitor to western multirole fighters in international fighter procurement programs.     

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