In a tweet, the official Twitter account of Russia’s state-owned United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) said, Russia’s aviation has begun arming itself with a new modification to the twin-engine, two-seat Su-30 fighter jet.
The press release makes it clear that the first 4 Su-30SM2 fighters, which were built in 2021, have already been delivered.
This year, the United Aircraft Corporation will continue to produce the SM2 series which will eventually replace the existing SM.
The Su-30SM2 has 16% more thrust thanks to its newly installed Izdelie 117S engine. The old SM fighter jets were powered by the N011M-R Bars-R radar, they have now been upgraded to a multi-mode, hybrid passive electronically scanned array (PESA) N035 Irbis-E.
The way PESA radars work is that during missions the information that is returned to the aircraft in the form of radio electromagnetic waves is distributed at one point on the radar. This could be an issue since it can lead to overheating issues and potentially jeopardize the operation. AESA radars, which is widely in service among Western manufacturers, does not have this issue. In AESA radars, returning radio electromagnetic waves are distributed over the entire surface of the radar grid, helping in quick data processing and preventing overheating issues.
The SM2 variant also sees an upgrade in the Su-30’s electronic warfare and counter-warfare systems. The older OLS-30 IRST version has been replaced with the OLS-35 IRST.
The Su-30SM2 has also received an integrated OSNOD system, which in addition to control and data sharing features, also allows the fighter jet to control unmanned aerial vehicles allowing them to be its attack wings.
As for the pilot’s helmet, which was earlier made by Ukraine, has been replaced by a Russian produced one. The SM2 also sees the replacement of display systems made by France’s Thales with Russian equivalents.
Crete, a subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned giant Rostec, has provided a brand new development of the strap-down inertial navigation system – BINS-SP2.
This is significant since the BINS-SP2 allows the SM2 to determine coordinates and motion variables in the absence of external input data, which means in the absence of satellite, ground, or offshore navigation systems, the SM2 can still continue to carry out its mission.
United Aircraft Corporation also mentioned that the Su-30SM2 has had a change in armament: its armament is mow equivalent to that of the Su-35 Flanker E.
The SM2 is also capable of carrying and operating the Kh-32 cruise missile.
The upgraded Su-30 can carry a set of bombs, cruise missiles, air-to-surface missiles, 1 × 30-mm automatic cannon Grjasew-Schipunow GSch-301 (9A-4071K) with up to 150 rounds of ammunition, air-to-air missiles, guided bombs, etc.