The Su-30SM has earned itself a strong foothold in Russian service, with both the Aerospace Forces and the Navy. REPORT Piotr Butowski


THE IRKUTSK-MADE Su-30 family started with the Su‑30MKI for India and is now in service as the Su-30SM in Russia. These are ultimately far more advanced aircraft than the Komsomolsk variants due to their electronically scanned array radar and vectored-thrust engines.

Under a series of contracts, started in March 2012, the Russian Ministry of Defence has ordered 116 Su-30SM (NATO codename ‘Flanker-H’) fighters — 88 for the VKS and 28 for Naval Aviation. In November 2017, Russia announced that it had accepted the 100th Su-30SM at the Irkutsk plant — it is destined for the unit stationed at Kursk.

The VKS Su-30SMs based at Domna, Millerovo and Kursk have almost completely replaced the preceding MiG‑29s. The naval examples are replacing Su-24s at Saki and Chernyakhovsk. With the carrier-based aviation regiment at Severomorsk-3, several Su-30SMs additionally serve as lead-in trainers for Su-33 pilots.

When all current aircraft on order are delivered, the Su-30SM will become the most numerous modern fighter aircraft in Russian service. It is a …

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