Indian Air Force (IAF) is among the best air forces in the world .Our airforce is well respected globally and is known for carrying out difficult operations with precision and skill.Indian air force operates various aircrafts but the main fighter ad the backbone of IAF is it's SU 30 MKI's .
SU 30 MKI is a 4++ gen twin-jet multirole air superiority heavy class fighter aircraft which was built by Russia's SUKHOI derived from the legendary Sukhoi_Su-27 .The MKI variant which is used by IAF is tailored and made specifically as per IAF's requirement and it is superior and more advanced than the Chinese SU 30 MKK and MK versions .
It's performance was so good that even the Russians themselves were so impressed by it that they developed a localized version of SU-30 MKI for themselves.Its abilities are on par with the abilities of SU-35 .
The jet is manufactured within India under license by HAL and it isthe only license manufacturer and the only SUKHOI production plant outside Russia.
SU 30 MKI was inducted in IAF on 27 September 2002 and it is expected to be India's front line fighter beyond 2020.
India planned to buy 272 SU 30 MKI's but according to officials IAF has ordered another 40 planes and now the total number of planes will be 312.
AVIONICS AND RADAR
SU 30 MKI is equipped with modern avionics and radars . Currently it has the NIIP N011M Bars (Panther) passive electronically scanned array radar. It is equipped with a modern digital weapons control system as well as anti-jamming features. N011M has a 400 km search range and a maximum 200 km tracking range, and 60 km in the rear hemisphere.The radar can track 15 air targets and engage 4 simultaneously.
The Su-30MKI can function as a mini-AWACS as a director or command post for other aircraft. The target co-ordinates can be transferred automatically to at least four other aircraft. The radar can detect ground targets such as tanks at 40–50 km.The Bars radar will be replaced by Zhuk-AESA in all Su-30MKI aircraft.Sukhoi Su-30MKI has electronic counter-measure systems. The RWR system is of Indian design, developed by India's DRDO, called Tarang.
The Su-30MKI is powered by two Al-31FP turbofans, each rated at 12,500 kgf (27,550 lbf) of full after-burning thrust, which enable speeds of up to mach two in horizontal flight (about 2450 km/h at ground-level) and a rate of climb of 230 m/s.
The mean time between overhaul is reportedly 1,000 hours with a full-life span of 3,000 hours.
SU 30 MKI has 3D Thrust_vectoring which makes it highly maneuverable and agile.
The Su-30MKI has a range of 3,000 km with internal fuel which ensures a 3.75 hour combat mission. Also, it has an in-flight refueling (IFR) probe that retracts beside the cockpit during normal operation. The air refueling system increases the flight duration up to 10 hours with a range of 8,000 km at a cruise height of 11 to 13 km.
|Il-78-SU-30MKI mid air refueling|
PERFORMANCE AGAINST OTHER JETS
The MKI are often sent for bilateral excercises where they compete against other jets of various air forces.
India exercised its Su-30MKIs against the Royal Air Force's Tornado in October 2006RAF's Air Vice Marshal, Christopher Harper, praised the MKI's dogfight ability, calling it "absolutely masterful in dogfights".
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 publicized, with the Indians winning "90% of the mock combat missions" against the USAF's F-15C.
In Cope India 05, the Su-30MKIs reportedly beat the USAF's F-16s.
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.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.
In near future the Sukhoi-30MKI fighters will soon be converted into 'Super Sukhois' by upgrading them with fifth generation combat jet features including reduced RCS , modern radars etc.
Also it is being integrated with Brahmos missile to provide the capability to attack ground targets from stand-off ranges of around 300 km.On 25 June 2016, HAL conducted the first test flight of a Su-30MKI fitted with a BrahMos-A missile. The first air launch of BrahMos from a Su-30MKI is to take place in October 2016.
SU 30 MKI is a very capable fighter which is one of the best fighters in the world .It is the best in its class and can compete with any modern jet.