Sukhoi 30 MKI – The Backbone of Indian Air Force

Su-30mki (Flanker-h)

The Sukhoi Su-30MKI  :


NATO reporting name: Flanker-H

Flanker-H is a twinjet multirole air superiority
fighter developed by Russias Sukhoi and built under licence
by India
s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
for the Indian Air Force (IAF). A variant of the Sukhoi
Su-30, it is a heavy, all-weather, long-range fighter.
Development of the variant started after India signed
a deal with Russia in 2000 to manufacture 140 Su-30
fighter jets.The first Russian-made Su-30MKI variant
was accepted into the Indian Air Force in 2002,
while the first indigenously assembled Su-30MKI entered
service with the IAF in 2004.Additional MKIs have
been ordered to increase the total to 272. The IAF had
200 Su-30MKIs in service as of August 2014. The Su-
30MKI is expected to form the backbone of the Indian
Air Force’s fighter fleet to 2020 and beyond.
The aircraft is tailor-made for Indian specifications and
integrates Indian systems and avionics as well as French
and Israeli sub-systems. It has abilities similar to the
Sukhoi Su-35 with which it shares many features and


Specifications (Su-30MKI) :


 Empty weight: 18,400 kg (40,565 lb)
 Loaded weight: 26,090 kg (57,520 lb) typical mission
 Max. takeoff weight: 38,800 kg (85,600 lb)
 Powerplant: 2 × Lyulka AL-31FP thrust vectoring
turbofans, 123 kN with afterburner (27,560 lbf)

General characteristics
 Crew: 2
 Length: 21.935 m (72.97 ft)
 Wingspan: 14.7 m (48.2 ft)
 Height: 6.36 m (20.85 ft)
 Wing area: 62.0 m² (667 ft²)
 2 × R-27R (AA-10A) semi-active radar guided,
medium range AAM, 80 km
 2 × R-27T (AA-10B) infrared homing seeker,
medium range AAM, 70 km
 6 × R-73 (AA-11) short range AAM, 30 km
 3 × Novator KS-172 AAM-L 400 km, Indian/
Russian air-to-air missile designed as an
“AWACS killer”

Air-to-surface missiles:
 DRDO Anti-Radiation Missile
 3 × Kh-59ME TV guided standoff Missile, 115 km
 3 × Kh-59MK active radar homing anti-ship missile,
285 km
 4 × Kh-35 anti-ship missile, 130 km
 1 × Brahmos supersonic cruise missile, 300 km
 3 × Brahmos NG supersonic cruise missile, 300 km
 1 × Nirbhay subsonic cruise missile, 1,000 km
 6 × Kh-31P/A anti-radar missile, 70 km
 6 × Kh-29T/L laser-guided missile, 30 km
 4 × S-8 rocket pods (80 unguided rockets)
 4 × S-13 rocket pods (20 unguided rockets)
 8 × KAB-500L laser-guided bombs
 3 × KAB-1500L laser-guided bombs
 8 × FAB-500T gravity bomb
 28 × OFAB-250-270 gravity bombs
 32 × OFAB-100-120 gravity bombs
 8 × RBK-500 cluster bombs



Performance :

 Maximum speed: Mach 2.0 (2,100 km/h or
1,300 mph) at altitude; 1,350 km/h, 839 mph near
ground level
 Range: 3,000 km (1,620 nmi) at altitude; (1,270
km, 690 nmi near ground level; with no external fuel
 Ferry range: 8,000 km (4,320 nmi) with two inflight
 Endurance: 3.75 hrs (up to 10 hrs with in-flight
 Service ceiling: 17,300 m (56,800 ft)
 Rate of climb: >300 m/s (>45,275 ft/min)
 Wing loading: 401 kg/m² (82.3 lb/ft²)
 Thrust/weight: 0.96
 Maximum g-load: +9 g



Armament :
 Guns: 1 × 30 mm GSh-30-1 gun (150 rounds)
 12 hardpoints: 2 × wing-tip AAM launch rails, 6 ×
pylons under-wing, 2 × pylon under-engine nacelle,
and 2 × pylons in tandem in the “arch” between the
engines. It can be increased to 14 using multiple
ejector racks. It can carry up to 8 tonnes of external

Air-to-air missiles:
 10 × R-77 (AA-12) active radar homing medium
range AAM, 100 km
 10 × Astra missile active radar homing medium
range AAM, 80–110 km
 6 × R-27ER (AA-10C) semi-active radar guided,
long range AAM 130 km
 6 × R-27ET (AA-10D) Infrared homing extended
range version, long range AAM 120 km.

Indian Air Force has 200 Su-30MKIs in service in August
2014 with 272 planned by 2018.





 Bareilly AFS: 15 Wing’s No. 8 Squadron IAF Eight
Pursoots (since mid-2007) & No. 24 Squadron
IAF Hunting Hawks sqns with Su-30MKI (since
late 2003, and since early 2009 four of its Su-
30MKIs have been tasked with strategic reconnaissance
along the Sino-Indian LAC with EL/M-2060P
SAR pod)

 Bhatinda AFS: 34 Wing – No. 17 Squadron IAF
Golden Arrows with Su-30MKI (since June 2012)

 Chabua AFS: 14 Wing – No. 102 Squadron IAF
Trisonics with Su-30MKI (since 8 March 2011)

 Halwara AFS: 34 Wing – No. 220 Squadron IAF
Desert Tigers with Su-30MKI (since 25 September

 Jodhpur AFS: 32 Wing – No. 31 Squadron IAF Lions
with Su-30MKI (since 1 October 2011)

 Lohegaon AFS: 2 Wing – No. 20 Squadron IAF
Lightning (since 27 September 2002) and 30 SQN
Rhinos with Su-30MKI (since 21 March 2005)

 Bhuj AFS:27 Wing – No. 15 Squadron IAF Flying

 Tezpur AFS: 11 Wing – No. 2 Squadron
IAFWinged Arrows with Su-30MKI (since 15 June

 Maharajpur AFS: 40 Wing – TACDE with Su-
30MKI (since October 2010)

 Sulur AFS to get Su-30MKI aircraft in 2016.

 Thanjavur AFS to host a squadron of 16–18 Su-
30MKIs beginning in 2017.

 Kalaikunda AFS: New squadron raised to further
strengthen the eastern sector





India exercised its Su-30MKIs
against the Royal Air Force’s Tornado ADVs in October
2006.This was the first large-scale bilateral aerial exercise
with any foreign air force during which the IAF
used its Su-30MKIs extensively. This exercise was also
the first in 43 years with the RAF. During the exercise,
the RAF Air Chief Marshal Glenn Torpy was given permission
by the IAF to fly the MKI. RAF’s Air Vice
Marshal, Christopher Harper, praised the MKI’s dogfight
ability, calling it “absolutely masterful in dogfights”.

In July 2007, the Indian Air Force fielded the MKI during
the Indra-Dhanush exercise with Royal Air Force’s
Eurofighter Typhoon. This was the first time that the two
jets had taken part in such an exercise.The IAF did
not allow their pilots to use the radar of the MKIs during
the exercise so as to protect the highly classified N011M
Bars. Also in the exercise were RAF Tornado F3s and
a Hawk. RAF Tornado pilots were candid in their admission
of the Su-30MKI’s superior manoeuvring in the
air, and the IAF pilots were impressed by the Typhoon’s

India sent Su-30MKs, an earlier variant of the Su-
30MKI, to take part in war games with the United States
Air Force (USAF) during Cope India 04 in 2004. The
results have been widely publicised, with the Indians
winning “90% of the mock combat missions” against the
USAF’s F-15C. The parameters of the exercise favored
the IAF, however. In Cope India 05, the Su-
30MKIs reportedly beat the USAF’s F-16s.

In July 2008, the IAF sent 6 Su-30MKIs and 2 Il-78MKI
aerial-refueling tankers, to participate in the Red Flag
exercise. The IAF again did not allow their pilots to
use the radar of the MKIs during the exercise so as to
protect the highly classified N011M Bars. In October
2008, a video surfaced on the internet which featured a
USAF colonel, Terrence Fornof, criticising Su-30MKI’s
performance against the F-15C, engine serviceability issues,
and high friendly kill rate during the Red Flag
exercise. Several of his claims were later rebutted
by the Indian side and the USAF also distanced itself from
his remarks.

In June 2010, India and France began the fourth round
of their joint air exercises, “Garuda”, at the Istres Air
Base in France. During Garuda, the IAF and the French
Air Force were engaged in various missions ranging from
close combat engagement of large forces, slow mover protection,
protecting and engaging high value aerial assets.
This exercise marked the first time the Su-30MKI took
part in a military exercise in France.

The Indian Air Force first took part in the US Air Force’s
Red Flag exercise in 2008. Participating in Red Flag costs
the IAF 100 crore (US$17.5 million) each time. To
reduce costs, the IAF decided to take part once every five
years. The IAF is taking part in the Red Flag exercise
in July 2013, at Nellis US Air Force Base, Nevada, US.
For the exercise, it is dispatching 8 Su-30MKIs, 2 C-130J
tactical aircraft, 2 IL-78 mid-air refueling tankers, 1 IL-
76 heavy-lift aircraft, and over 150 personnel.
The IAF again fielded its MKIs in the Garuda-V exercise
with France in June 2014, where they manoeuvred
in mixed groups with other IAF aircraft and French
On 21 July 2015, India and UK began the bilateral exercise
named Indradhanush with aircraft operating from
three Royal Air Force bases. The exercises included both
Beyond Visual Range (BVR) and Within Visual Range
(WVR) exercises between the Su-30MKI and Eurofighter
Typhoon. Indian media reported the results were in
favour of the IAF with a score of 12-0 at WVR engagements.
They also claim that the IAF Su-30MKIs held an
edge over the Typhoons in BVR engagements though not
in as dominating a manner. The RAF issued a statement
that the results being reported by the Indian media
did not reflect the results of the exercise.

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