SU-30 MKI which is the Frontline Fighter of Indian Air Force (LINK TO ORIGINAL) is a beast which rules the skies. It is an air superiority heavyweight fighter which is super maneuverable and is considered one of the most lethal jet in world. Its capabilities are unmatched in the region and only superior fighter known is Russian Su-35 which has little edge over the Indian beast because of its better radar and more powerful engine.
Well for years now India and Russia have been talking about further upgrading the SU 30 MKI and making it what has been called SUPER SUKHOI. India and Russia have been talking about this for a long time now but since China has ordered 24 Su 35 fighters it has been observed that the talks between India and Russia regarding the upgrade have increased and now Indian Airforce has some serious upgrades planned.
While the confused and misguided media has led to a lot of rumour about super Sukhoi like it will be a 5th gen fighter, I would stick to more realistic upgrades that have been said and might be done to SU 30 MKI to make it SUPER SUKHOI like
- ENGINE UPGRADE- SUPER SUKHOI is planned to have an engine upgrade. The Su 30 MKI engine the Lyulka AL-31FP thrust vectoring turbofans, 123 kN with afterburner each is to be replaced with the one which is currently being used in SU-35 jets Saturn 117S (AL-41F1S)afterburning turbofan, with 142 kN thrust with afterburner. This engine is more powerful, more efficient and has a longer life cycle compared to the current engine.
- AESA radar- till now IAF SU 30 MKI used a NIIP N011M Bars HYBRID PESA ( it's a bridge btw PESA and AESA radar) which was a very strong radar but these will be replaced with Russian Phazotron Zhuk-AE AESA radars. AESA radars are better at detecting targets ( for same power rating) compared to PESA and these are also more reliable and tougher to jam.
- Reduced RCS- The SUPER SUKHOI will have lower Radar Cross-section (RCS) but this Should Not Be confused with stealth or stealth features. The reduced RCS will not make SUPER SUKHOI a 5th gen fighter as for stealth many additional features are required and to fulfill those the entire design of Su 30 MKI will need to be changed and this is neither economical not possible. The reduced RCS will probably reduce its detection at longer ranges compared to what they are now.
- EWS & sensor upgrade- The jet might get sensor and electronic warfare suite upgrades to enhance it's performance and maybe a faster data link which will make it more lethal.
The Indian beast is all set to get more teeth and in SUPER SUKHOI CONFIGURATION it will give IAF an edge over our enemies. Super Sukhoi will ensure that India's dominance over skies till we get a fully fledged 5th gen fighter aircraft.