Super-Sukhoi was allowed to take off. By the end of the year, a modification of the Su-30SM2 fighter will fly into the air. It was equipped with an AL-41F-1C engine with variable thrust wind. Avionics, optics, radar and surveillance systems have also been updated. In the future, it is planned to completely replace the radar and bring the vehicles already in the military department to the CM2 standard. Experts noted that now the Su-30SM in the basic configuration are the most numerous modern air assets in service with Russia and its closest allies in the CSTO.
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Greater traction reserve
Approval has been received for the first flight of the Su-30SM2 prototype with the AL-41F-1C engine “product 117S”, sources in the Ministry of Defense and the military-industrial complex told Izvestia. According to the approved work schedule, which was reviewed by the publication, at present the aircraft manufacturers have signed a contract to check the readiness of the newest aircraft for the first flight. The Super-Sukhoi is expected to fly into the air by the end of the year.
In addition, the onboard electronics, radar, optical location station have been improved, and the set of weapons has been expanded. In this form, the updated multifunctional fighter received the designation Su-30SM2.
During a visit to the Irkutsk Aviation Plant in August, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that by the end of the year his department plans to sign a contract for the construction of 21 Su-30SM2 fighters and 25 Yak-130 training aircraft. The total cost of the order will be over RUB 100 billion.
As Izvestia previously reported, since 2015, development work has been underway to increase combat capabilities and import substitution of foreign components on the base Su-30SM, designated “Adaptation-Su”. Within its framework, the aircraft is also being finalized for the use of new air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons.
Initially, it was planned to strengthen the armament and change the composition of the avionics. In this form, the aircraft received the designation Su-30SM1. In 2018, it became known about the order of the President of Russia to unify the Su-30SM and Su-35S as much as possible. For this, the preparation of the version with the AL-41F-1C began and the study of the possibility of installing on it a much more powerful Irbis radar instead of the current Bars. The index of this variant was changed to Su-30SM2.
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– A more powerful engine from the Su-35 will give a greater supply of thrust. And this means an increased amount of ammunition and equipment that the plane can have on board, ”Honored Test Pilot Colonel Igor Malikov told Izvestia. – Variable thrust vector gives the aircraft the ability to conduct maneuverable air combat. This is an advantageous situation for a fighter, but it will require appropriate electronic equipment and weapons control systems. When the fighter quickly changes its position, the instruments must confidently track the movement of targets, and the pilot must be able to use air-to-air missiles at them.
The powerful AL-41F-1S engine with an all-aspect controlled thrust vector is known as “product 117C”. It has already been tested on modern production Su-35S fighters. Compared to the current power plant of the Su-30SM, its thrust 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.
The increased power is needed not only to create a reserve of traction. It is needed to power the more modern avionics on board. Thanks to this, it became possible to install a powerful radar on the aircraft with an increased detection range of air and ground targets and provide power to the electronic warfare system.
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Work on the integration of an 80% renewed engine into a combat vehicle was jointly carried out by the Sukhoi company, the Irkut aircraft building corporation and the UEC-UMPO engine building association.
According to the developer, the new engine will not only increase the vehicle’s capabilities in battle. The unification will simplify and reduce the cost of servicing the entire large fleet of aircraft and extend the service life of the Su-30SM already purchased by Russia and its allies.
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.
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.
Now the 30th series “Sukhoi” in the basic version of the SM is the most numerous type of modern fighters in service with Russia. About 130 vehicles are in the Aerospace Forces and the Navy. They were also purchased by other member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Several dozen Su-30SMs were purchased by Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
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In the original version, the aircraft retained many export features. Its onboard equipment included the INS / GPS Totem inertial satellite navigation system of the French company Thales. The indicator on the windshield (ILS) was supplied by the same company. One of the early prototypes used an ILS from the Israeli company Elbit Systems.
Import substitution work on the Su-30SM started in 2015. At the beginning of last year, the Irkutsk aircraft plant reported on the approach to a 100% transition to Russian counterparts of components.
From the first days of the operation in Syria in 2015, four Su-30SMs from the 120th mixed aviation regiment were sent to the country for fighter cover. Since then, such aircraft of the Aerospace Forces and the Navy have been constantly present in the Arab Republic. They not only patrolled in the air and accompanied the bombers, but they themselves regularly attacked the positions of the militants with both guided and conventional weapons.