This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Su-27 appearance which gave birth to the well-known family of fighters of the Su-27/Su-30/ Su-35. The family members form up a core of the several air force, including Angola, Belarus, Venezuela, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, China, Malaysia, Uganda among the many.
The designation “Su” originates from the family name of the aircraft designer Pavel Osipovich Sukhoi whose team remains in charge of the current family development.
Nowadays, the Su family includes a number of export-oriented members of the heavy multi-mission combat aircraft such as Su-30MKI, Su-30MKM, Su-30MKA, Su-30SME, Su-34E and Su-35 4+/4++ generation aircraft.
According to Rosoboronexport, Russia’s national defense trader, about 700 Su-27/Su-30 combat aircraft have been sold internationally since 2000. “In 2021, the company’s order portfolio was replenished with new contracts for the supply of Su-30SMs,” said Alexander Mikheev, Rosoboronexport CEO.
“Over the past 10 years, the share of aircraft supplies in Russia’s total arms exports has stood at 40-50%, and even exceeds this figure today. Currently, our partners highly appreciate the fact that engines, avionics, weapons, systems and components in Russian combat aircraft are exclusively Russian-made. This ensures the independence of the purchasing countries from unfair actions taken by third countries,” he added.
The aircraft open architecture of avionics and weapons systems allows to implement various non-Russian equipment on customer’s demand.
The Russian Aerospace Forces remains the largest operator of Sukhoi combat aircraft.
The Su-35 is the latest family member with the fifth-generation fighter technologies. The Su-35 handles the entire range of fighter missions over a wide altitude and speed envelope. A large number of hard points allows the use of up to 12 medium-range air-to-air guided missiles or 6 air-to-surface missiles in one sortie. Its powerful onboard radar can detect aerial targets at long ranges (up to 350 km). The Su-35 also effectively engages ground (surface) targets, including without entering the enemy's air defense zone. In addition, the Su-35 is able to control a group of airplanes in the air, acting as an AWACS aircraft.
Other key features of the Su family include: super-maneuverability; powerful smart missiles package teamed by a 30 mm cannon; in-flight refueling capability;
“In the foreseeable future, the predominant combat effectiveness of Russian aircraft will remain, and continuous platform upgrading is underway, as clearly illustrated by the case of the Su-57. In this context, it is curious that some Western media, throwing in fakes about the alleged “technological gap of the Russians,” are silent about the fact that a mere appearance of Russian fighters in the sky often dramatically changes the situation in the theater of war not in favor of the enemy,” Mr. Mikheev declared.
One of the most notable foreign operators of Su-30 type fighters is India, where the program of licensed production of Su-30MKI fighters, which make up the backbone of the country's Air Force, has been successfully implemented. Rosoboronexport, within the framework of the Make in India program, is ready to supply additional completely knocked down kits for the assembly of the Su-30MKI and carry out joint work on their modernization, including the integration of the latest air weapons, avionics, etc. At the same time, the existing portfolio of aviation projects allows the company to globally develop technological cooperation in a broad range of areas.
The Su-family inflight capabilities will be displayed by the Russian Knights and Falcons of Russia aerobatic teams during the ARMY-2022 International Forum this August.
(Yury Laskin, LAGUK-Media; Photo: Su-30SM © ROE)