IN-DEPTH: A look at Russia's enhanced Sukhoi Su-30SM2

The Su-30SM is now well established in Russian service while also enjoying mild export demand. An enhanced derivative, dubbed Su-30SM2 and currently in development, is primarily aimed at meeting the Russian Naval Aviation requirements, as Alexander Mladenov reports.

The first orders for the affordable yet sufficiently capable multi-role heavyweight fighter were placed by the Russian defence ministry in early 2012. Not long after, the type became the mainstay of the Vozdushno-Kosmicheskiye Sily (VKS, Russian Aerospace Forces) and Aviatsiya Voenno-Morskovo Flota (AVMF, Russian Naval Aviation) tactical jet fleets.

Su-30SM [Andrey Zinchuk]
This Su-30SM from the 14th IAP comes equipped with the SAP-518SM radar jammer pods on the wingtips. Andrey Zinchuk

First deliveries were made in December that year and as many as 114 were taken under a series of contracts, which were reportedly completed in 2018. After a four-year pause, from 2022 onwards the Russian military is set to take on strength the significantly enhanced Su-30SM2 derivative, with an initial batch of 21 examples already on order for the AVMF, with more expected to follow.

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