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MAKS 2017: Russian MoD eyes improved variant of the Su-30SM fighter jet

MAKS 2017
International Aviation and Space Show
18 - 23 July 2017, Zhukovsky, Russia
MAKS 2017: Russian MoD eyes improved variant of the Su-30SM fighter jet
Russia’s Ministry of Defense and Irkut Corporation are completing modernization of the Su-30SM multirole fighter. The upgraded version will be designated the Su-30SM1. Improvements will be made to avionics, and the aircraft will also be able to use the latest precision-guided weapons. According to experts, the upgraded Su-30SM1 will equal the fifth-generation aircraft in its capabilities, writes the newspaper Izvestia.
MAKS 2017 airshow Moscow Russia 91A Russian Su-30SM fighter jet on display at MAKS 2017
As Izvestia was told at Russia’s Aerospace Forces Command, the modernization of the Su-30SM is currently underway, taking into account the experience of daily and combat operation of fighters. The upgraded aircraft will feature a number of improvements to avionics, as well as an expanded range of precision-guided munitions. Several Su-30SMs have already been modernized. The United Aircraft Corporation confirmed that the work was underway, but declined to comment further.

Expert Anton Lavrov told Izvestia that if a single digit is added to the designation of an aircraft, then it’s most likely about adding new types of ammunition to the range of weapons used by the fighter. "The Su-30SM is a very good aircraft," the expert said. "In the case of the Su-30SM1, this may be the addition of new suspended surveillance systems and the integration of additional weapons. It can be assumed that the upgraded fighters will be able to use the KAB-250 precision-guided bombs and Kh-59MK2 air-to-surface missiles."

The KAB-250 bomb has a modular design and can be fitted with satellite- and laser-guided systems. It was developed in response to the development of guided air bombs of the SDB (Small Diameter Bomb) family in the United States. These bombs are used to equip the American F-22 and F-35 fifth-generation fighters. The KAB-250 with a laser seeker and a HE warhead is designed to destroy soft skin equipment, railway junctions, warehouses and other enemy facilities. The air bomb can be used both singly and in salvo from an aircraft equipped with on-board laser target designators, as well as when the targets are externally illuminated from the ground.
MAKS 2017 airshow Moscow Russia 84 Kh-59MK missile at MAKS 2017
The Kh-59MK2 is an advanced version of the Kh-59 missile. The latter was intended to destroy surface targets such as "boat" or "ship." The MK2 version has added a capability to destroy low-contrast ground-based stationary targets with known coordinates to these capabilities. This is an airborne fire-and-forget precision-guided missile.

The Su-30SM fighter is the latest version of Russia’s most mass-produced Su-30 generation 4++ multirole fighter. Its super maneuverability is achieved through a highly effective integral aerodynamic configuration of the airframe, the use of AL-31FP engines with a thrust vectoring control system, and canard surfaces. The Bars onboard radar enables the pilot to use weapons in a maneuverable flight at a long range. The aircraft is able to use the entire range of current and advanced precision-guided air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons and fly up to 3,000 km without refueling and external fuel tanks. During a recent visit to the Irkutsk Aviation Plant, Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said that in 2017 the Aerospace Forces expect to receive 17 new Su-30SM fighters, recalls the newspaper Izvestia.
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