A little bit of history
In the 80's the Su-27UB was entering service within USSR, it was no worth than the single seater, so the OKB Suchoj decided to create a long range interceptor (something like MiG-31) based on the Su-27UB as their internal fuel tank was larger than the air force required and the design bureau already mastered the in-flight refueling technique.
However the Su-27UB did not have a large enough nose to hose the Zaslon radar of the MiG-31 (the radar was also too heavy) so the Suchoj Bureau decided to modernize the N001 radar which was capable of tracking up to 10 targets at a distance of 100km. The modernization was under the supervision of I.W. Jemielianow and the plane was named T-10PU (T-10 was the internal designation of Su-27).
The first 2 prototypes were converted from 2 of the Su-27UB prototypes (the T-10U-5 and T-10U-6). In both planes the rear cockpit were to be occupied by the so-called "tactical officer" in other word WSO who's task was to monitor the air situation, make tactical decisions, communicate with other planes and operate mid-range missiles. The OLS-27 optro-electronic head was moved to the right side of the cabin to make room for the in-flight refueling devices.
As the T-10PU was capable of
carrying more missiles and could engage in dog fight, it entered service as
Su-27 and serial production began at 1991. However due to the disintegration of
At the beginning of the 90's Suchoj
design bureau offered
The contract for 40 Su-30K worth 1.3
billion USD (according to some other sources 1.8billion) was signed in 30th of
November 1996. The first 8 was to be delivered until the end of 1997 and in the
original Su-30 standard and the later delivered machines should be gradually
upgraded to the final state - Su-30MKI ("I" for
The electronic components were produced in different countries. The N011M Bars radar, O£S-30 optronic IRST and the digital fire control system are produced in Russian, the fight computer are Indian, cockpit is French including 6x8 inch MFD, VEH3000 HUD and SAGEM Totem navigation system and electronic warfare systems are delivered by Israel. The Su-30MKIs are powered by AL-31FP with thrust vectoring. The engine is steerable in +/- 15 degrees horizontally and +/- 32 degrees vertically (in Su-37 was +/- 15 degrees) which further increased its maneuverability. The AL-31FP was only 110Kg heavier and 0.4m longer than the AL-31F, while the thrust remained the same. The first planes delivered were equipped with AL-31F but they could be upgraded to AL-31FP later on without any changes in the airframe.
However the program was delayed as the Indians first could not complete the subcontractor list and later did not deliver the component in time, after the crash of the T-10PMK-1 ("blue 01") in 1998 Le Bourget, the program was delayed further. After all the postponement, the tests of the first preproduction plane of the Su-30MKI began in 26th of Nov 2000. Not long before that, the testing of the Bars radar (on a Su-27M) was initiated.
The Bars radar has a highly reliable phase-array antenna. It guarantees the detection of an incoming fighter at a distance no less than 130km (60km form the rear hemisphere) and the detection angle of +/-45deg. vertically and +/-70deg. horizontally. Such wide angle was achieved as the antenna could rotate in this plane. The radar could simultaneously track both air and ground targets and engage 4 to 8 targets. In the near future the observation angle would be increased to +/- 100deg in both planes, and the accuracy would also rise to 5m (before 10m). Another function of the radar is automatic target transmission to 4 other planes functioning in passive mode.
The first batch of Su-30MKI is to be
delivered in the begging of 2002. They will be received by the 20th Division
so-called "Lightnings". In the end of 1998
Together with the planes, the
Russians will deliver a wide variety of missiles. They will be R-27 (all
versions) with range between 50 and 95km. R-77 with active homing device and
R-73. Every type of air-ground weapons presently in production in
The information of selling Su-30 to
The radar is designated as N001WE, it has the same antenna and range (80-100 from front hemisphere, 30-40 from rear, it could track up to 10 targets and engage 1) in the nearest future, the radar would be capable of launching air-water missiles like 3M24 or 3M80. The maximum take-off weight is 38 tons which is close to the parameter represented by Su-27IB (Su-34), that mean the fully tanked (over 10 tons) plane could carry 8 tons of weapon. However lately the 38 ton limit is referred by the Russian as "extreme" and the max limit is lowered to 34 tons. The Su-30MKK will not be suited with PGO (vector thrust) nor AL-31FP engines, probably to reduce cost and shorten the design period.
The first Su-30MKK "502"
first flew in
Nov. 2001, a new contract for delivering 40 more Su-30MKK (with an option of 30
more) was signed for 1.5billion USD. In the first decade of 21st century,
more to come...
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