File Image: Su-30SM

The Russian Ministry of Defense has acquired a fresh batch of Su-30SM2 Heavyweight Fighters. Following the delivery of the first-ever unit in January, it is anticipated that a new unit will be equipped with some of the fleet’s most capable combat jets.

The su-30sM2 is an upgrade package for the su-30sm, one of Russia’s most widely fielded fighters, providing new avionics access to new weapons classes and integration of the su-35’s al-41 engine for improved flight performance and greater endurance.

It was also anticipated that the plane would get a new radar, which might happen down the line as more su-30s are upgraded. A few new Su-30s built to the Su-30sM2 standard are also being acquired.

The su-30sm fleet stood at 113 aircraft at the beginning of the year, meaning the modernization program for the entire fleet could continue until near the end of the decade.

The Russian Navy has received all su-30sm2s, but the most recent batch will join the Russian Air Force.

a Russian government statement announced on November 21st regarding the su-30sm2. The Irkutsk aviation plant at the United Aircraft Corporation UAC, part of the state Corporation Rostek, has manufactured and delivered new su-30sm2 fighters in Yak 130 combat trainer aircraft to the defense Ministry of Russia.

The new aircraft includes sophisticated radio-electronic equipment onboard. The update performed on behalf of the Russian Ministry of Defense has enhanced the aircraft’s combat capability. In particular, the developers have increased the aerial Target detection and identification range.

It further elaborated that the aircraft integrated standoff-guided weapons with ranges of several hundred kilometers, a capability all post-soviet Russian fighter classes benefit from.

The su-30sm2 program allows the Russian military to standardize the engines of its two main fighter classes, the su-30 and su-35, while bringing the former closer to the higher performance standard of the latter.

Su-30SM2
Pair of Su-35 fighter Jet

However, the su-30 was initially expected to be procured in much smaller numbers.

Serious delays to the development of the Next Generation su-57 fighter, of which only six have entered service so far, led the defense Ministry to invest in the su-30sm as an interim means of replacing older Soviet-built su-27 MiG-29 and su-24 Fighters.

Research and development costs for the su-30sm program were negligible, having been paid for by India to develop the su-30mki variant in the late 1990s, which the SM variant is very closely based on.

Algeria, Malaysia, Belarus, Myanmar, Armenia, and Kazakhstan all operate su-30s from the same family built at Irkutsk.

Irkutsk su-30s have significantly Superior air-to-air performances than other models and integrate several features from the canceled su-37 air superiority fighter program of the 1990s