Sukhoi Su-30 Model
A hand crafted Sukhoi Su-30 Model that was carefully carved from wood and hand-painted.
Length – 18 inches
The Sukhoi Su-30 (Russian: Сухой Су-30; NATO reporting name: Flanker-C) is a twin-engine, two-seat supermaneuverable fighter aircraft developed in the Soviet Union by Russia’s Sukhoi Aviation Corporation. It is a multirole fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions.
The Su-30 started out as an internal development project in the Sukhoi Su-27 family by Sukhoi. The design plan was revamped and the name was made official by the Russian Defense Ministry in 1996. Of the Flanker family, the Su-27, Su-30, Su-33, Su-34 and Su-35 have been ordered into limited or serial production by the Defense Ministry. The Su-30 has two distinct version branches, manufactured by competing organisations: KnAAPO and the Irkut Corporation, both of which come under the Sukhoi group’s umbrella.
KnAAPO manufactures the Su-30MKK and the Su-30MK2, which were designed for and sold to China, and later Indonesia, Uganda, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Due to KnAAPO’s involvement from the early stages of developing Su-35, these are basically a two-seat version of the mid-1990s Su-35. The Chinese chose an older but lighter radar so the canards could be omitted in return for increased payload. It is a fighter with both air supremacy and attack capabilities, generally similar to the U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle.
Irkut traditionally served the Soviet Air Defense and, in the early years of Flanker development, was given the responsibility of manufacturing the Su-27UB, the two-seat trainer version. When India showed interests in the Su-30, Irkut offered the multirole Su-30MKI, which originated as the Su-27UB modified with avionics appropriate for fighters. Along with its ground-attack capabilities, the series adds features for the air-superiority role, such as canards, thrust-vectoring, and a long-range phased-array radar. Its derivatives include the Su-30MKM, MKA, and SM for Malaysia, Algeria, and Russia, respectively. The Russian Air Force operates several Su-30s and has ordered the Su-30SM version.
While the original Su-27 had good range, it still did not have enough range for the Soviet Air Defense Forces (PVO, as opposed to VVS – the Soviet Air Force). The Air Defense Forces needed to cover the vast expanse of the Soviet Union. Hence, development began in 1986 on the Su-27PU, an improved-capability variant of the Su-27 capable of serving as a long-range interceptor or airborne command post.
The two-seat Su-27UB combat trainer was selected as the basis for the Su-27PU, because it had the performance of a single-seat Su-27 with seating for two crew members. A “proof-of-concept” demonstrator flew 6 June 1987, and this success led to the kick-off of development work on two Su-27PU prototypes. The first Su-27PU flew at Irkutsk on 31 December 1989, and the first of three pre-production models flew on 14 April 1992.
The Su-30 is a multirole fighter. It has a two-seat cockpit with an airbrake behind the canopy.
The integrated aerodynamic configuration, combined with the thrust vectoring control ability, results in high manoeuvrability and unique takeoff and landing characteristics. Equipped with a digital fly-by-wire system, the Su-30 is able to perform some very advanced manoeuvres, including the Pugachev’s Cobra and the tailslide. These manoeuvers quickly decelerate the aircraft, causing a pursuing fighter to overshoot, as well as breaking a Doppler radar-lock, as the relative speed of the aircraft drops below the threshold where the signal registers to the radar.
The aircraft’s powerplant incorporates two Saturn AL-31F afterburning low-bypass turbofan engines, fed through intake ramps. Two AL-31Fs, each rated at 123 kN (28,000 lbf) of full afterburning thrust ensures Mach 2 in level flight, 1,350 km/h speed at low altitude, and a 230 m/s climbing rate.
With a normal fuel reserve of 5,270 kg, the Su-30MK is capable of performing a 4.5-hour combat mission with a range of 3,000 km. An aerial refueling system increases the range to 5,200 km (3,200 mi) or flight duration up to 10 hours at cruise altitudes.
The aircraft features autopilot ability at all flight stages including low-altitude flight in terrain-following radar mode, and individual and group combat employment against air and ground/sea-surface targets. Automatic control system interconnected with the navigation system ensures route flight, target approach, recovery to airfield and landing approach in automatic mode.
The Russian Defence Ministry ordered 60 Su-30SMs under two contracts signed in March and December 2012, respectively, with deliveries completed by 2016. On 21 September 2012, the Su-30SM performed its maiden flight and first two aircraft were delivered to the Russian Air Force on 22 November 2012. Another contract for 28 aircraft was signed in April 2016, with deliveries completed in 2018. The Su-30SM was officially accepted into service with the Russian Aerospace Forces by a resolution of the Russian president in January 2018.
During the 2017 MAKS International Aviation and Space Salon, it was reported that Russian Defence Ministry and Irkut Corporation are working on modernization of Russia’s Su-30SM fighters to the new Su-30SM1 standard. In early August 2019, a contract for modernization was signed. The aircraft will receive the N035 Irbis radar and AL-41F1S engines of the Su-35S, thus reducing operational costs of the two variants. In addition, Su-30SM1’s armament will be enhanced of the new KAB-250 aerial bombs and Kh-59MK2 stealth cruise missiles. First deliveries to the Russian Aerospace Forces are scheduled for end-2020 and first squadron is to be formed by 2021.
2015 Russian military intervention in Syria
Main article: Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War
In September 2015, Su-30SM fighters were deployed for the first time to the Bassel Al-Assad International Airport in Latakia, Syria. At least four Su-30SM fighters were spotted in a satellite photo. In late December 2015, there were 16 Su-30SMs at Khmeimim Air Base. As a part of their combat deployment, they provided target illumination for bombers that launch airstrikes against Islamist rebel groups.
Su-30SMs were initially tasked with aerial escort of Russian attack jets or strategic bombers. Later during the operations, they were tasked to air to ground duties too. On 21 March 2017, rebel forces launched a new offensive in the Hama province; a few days later a video emerged showing a Russian Air Force Su-30SM striking ground targets with unguided air to ground rockets in a dive attack against the rebels.
On 3 May 2018, a Russian Air Force Su-30 crashed shortly after take-off from the Khmeimim Air Base, killing both crew members.
According to the Yury Borisov, the reliability indicators of the Su-30SM and Su-35S deployed to Syria exceeded the projected levels by several times citing “The achieved reliability indicators… of the new Su-35 and Su-30SM aircraft in intensive combat operation were three-four times higher than the standard.