Su-30SM2 will make its first flight by the end of 2020

The Izvestiya postal has reported about a new Su-30 modification with reference to sources in the Ministry of Defence and the military-industrial complex. By the end of 2020, a new version called Su-30SM2 powered by two AL-41F-1S/Izd.117S engines should take off for the first time. In the future, it is also planned to bring the Su-30SM aircraft already delivered and operated by the Russian military to the new Su-30SM2 standard.

The new Sukhoi features a range of improvements, including onboard electronics. Radar and the IRST optical location station have also been replaced by newer versions, closely related to the components used on the Su-35S. The range of weapons has also been expanded. According to the approved work schedule, the aircraft manufacturers are currently checking the readiness of the aircraft for the first flight.

In the original version, the Su-30SM features some key components of foreign origin. These include CMFD-55/66 displays by Samtel, VEH-3022 HUD, Totem INS/GPS or ILS indicator by Thales. The R&D work on the Su-30SM with the goal to provide substitution of these imported components has been ongoing since 2015. Within the framework of the programme called Adaptation-Su, the aircraft was also modified for the use of new air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons. The fully domestic aircraft version was to receive a designation Su-30SM1. Nevertheless, in 2018 it was decided to launch a programme for the unification of components of the Su-30SM and Su-35S to the maximum possible extent. The goal was set to simplify and reduce the cost of servicing the entire fleet of aircraft, extend the service life of the Su-30SM and further increase its combat capabilities. This required a much more extensive rework of the aircraft, the integration of the AL-41F-1S turbofan, as well as installation of a more powerful N035 Irbis radar instead of the current N011M Bars-R. The index of this variant was then changed to Su-30SM2.

The AL-41F-1S engine, also known as the Izd.117S has already been used on series Su-35S fighters. Compared with the current power plant of the Su-30SM, the AL-31FP, its thrust has been increased by 16% to 14,500 kgf (142 kN). The service life of the aircraft engine has been extended to 4,000 hours and thanks to the plasma ignition system, the AL-41F-1S is also more economical than the AL-31FP, resulting in an extended range. The increased power is also required for powering the onboard avionics, especially the Irbis radar and a new electronic warfare system. Work on the integration of the 80% renewed engine into the vehicle was jointly carried out by the Irkut aircraft building corporation and the UEC-UMPO engine building association.

The new aircraft will be built under a contract for 21 Su-30SM2 fighters and 25 Yak-130 trainer aircraft worth over USD 1.3 billion (100 billion RUB) which has been announced by the Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu during a visit to the Irkutsk Aviation Plant in August this year *).

For the future, all these improvements should be transferrable not only to Su-30SM, counting for 130 aircraft in the Russian Aerospace Forces' and the Navy's inventory and around 50 export within the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan), but also to other IAZ-built export versions of the “thirty”, counting for almost 360 Su-30MKI/MKA/MKM aircraft delivered to India, Algeria and Malaysia.

*) News report 17 August 2020: Russian MoD to sign contracts for 21 Su-30SM2 and 25 Yak-130 aircraft


Photos: Russian Ministry of Defence via

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