The assembly of aircraft T-50-6-1 is nearing completion and three further aircraft (T-50-6-2,T-50-7 and T-50-8) are in build. One of the T-50-6 aircraft is intended for static trials and the other one is intended for flight testing. Few of prototypes are already canonicalized for parts to other prototypes due to shortage of funds.
Among the main problems inherent in the new machine, experts single out, firstly, the use of new control systems. The second possible problem is related to the tail. On the Su-57, it is represented by all-turning trapezoidal stabilizers, includes keels with small air intakes that allow cooling aircraft equipment. In addition to the listed problems that could lead to the crash of the car, the Su-57 has other obvious disadvantages. For example, many experts talk about problems with electronics, which is due, first of all, to the lack of domestic high-tech industries in Russia in Russia,” the Military Review Russian news publication reports.
The incident occurred days before Russia’s Aerospace Forces were due to receive their first serial-produced Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet. Its developer Sukhoi plans to deliver a total of 67 fifth-generation Su-57s to the Russian Aerospace Forces by 2028.
Upgrade of Russia’s Sukhoi Su-30SM fighters to equip them with armaments, radar, sensors and engines from the Su-35 aircraft may hinder the market for the latter which is the current top-line Russian fighter jet.
With the Su-35 being much pricier than the Su-30; operators of the latter may find a strong value proposition in upgrading their existing aircraft to the Su-35 standard an even more cost-effective option.
In addition, with Russia working hard to get their Su-57 into the Russian air force and then onto the world market, the unique selling proposition of the leading fighter of the previous generation would be considerably dented.
“After completing the work on the Su-30SM upgrade, changing the layout of the onboard radio-electronic equipment to make the Su-35 and the Su-30SM more standardized and thus cut the cost price and standardizing the airborne weapon systems, this may breathe a new life into the plane,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, said in February of this year.
Su-30 aircraft manufacturer, Irkut Aircraft Corporation is responsible for the upgrade of the fighters. Prototype of the first upgraded jet will likely be ready by the end of 2019, Russian media reported.
“The fighter regiment of the Western Military District will get a batch of Su-30SM fighters under the state defense procurement plan with an upgraded engine. The first batch is planned for delivery in 2021.” TASS said quoting the Military District’s press office on August 5.
Current generation Su-30SM and their variants such as the SU-30MKI (India), Su-30MKM (Malaysia) are equipped with the AL-31F engine or its variants which provide a maximum thrust of 12,500 kgf allowing the aircraft to go faster.
The engine conforms to its predecessors, the AL-31F and AL-31FP engines. This makes it possible to use the 117S engine for upgrading the entire fleet of previously built Su-27-/Su-30-type aircraft, with minor engine nacelle and equipment modifications.
On the other hand, Russia’s most advanced fighter till date, the Su-57 fighter is powered by two AL-41F-1 engines. The former produces 144.5kN (14,734 kgf) while the latter produces 189kN (19,272 kgf) of afterburning thrust. The main avionics systems are the Sh121 Multifunctional Integrated Radio Electronic System (MIRES) and the 101KS Atoll Electro-Optical System.
Comparison between Su-30SM and Su-35
|Su-30 SM Standard
|Upgraded Su-30 features
|$34 million for MAF
$121 million for India
|$83 million for China and Egypt
|Max Payload (kg)
|2 AL-31F turbofan engines
|2 AL-41F-1S modular two-shaft turbofan engine
|AL-41F-1S modular two-shaft turbofan engine
|Maximum Thrust with afterburner
|122.58kN (12,500 kgf)
|142kN (14,480 kgf)
|137.3kN (14,000 kgf)
|Prominent Air To Air Missiles
|R-27R/ER/T/ET/P, R-73E, RVV-AE
|R-27RE/TE, R-40, R-60, R-73E, R-77M/P/T, R-74
|Air To Surface Missiles
|Kh-25ML, Kh-29L/TE, 3M-14AE
|3M-54AE1, Kh-31A/AD, Kh-35U, Kh-59MK, Yakhont
|Avionics, Radars, Sensors
|Bars planar array radar
OEPS-27 electro-optical targeting system
SPO-15 Radar Warning Receiver
|passive array radar
OLS-35 infra-red search and track system
L175M Khibiny-M electronic countermeasures system
|Proposed upgrade for Su-30MKI by India:101KS-V Infrared Search and Track System
DRDO-DARE developed Dual Color Missile Approaching Warning System
Dhruti Radar Warning Receiver
DARE High Band Jammer
DRDO SIVA targeting pod
SAMTEL-HAL Display System
|Su-30 (Russia), Su-30MKI (India), Su-30MKA (Algeria), Su-30MKM (Malaysia), Su-30SM (Russia), Su-30MK2 (China, Uganda, Indonesia), Su-30MK2V (Vietnam), Su-30MKV (Venezuela)
|Su-27M/ Su-35, Su-37, Su-35UB, Su-35BM, Su-35S (China & Egypt)
Armenia- 4 ordered
Belarus- 12 ordered
India- 249 in service,
Myanmar- 6 ordered
Russia- 165 in service, 6 on order, 50 planned
Uganda- 6 order
Venezuela- 24 in service,
12 on order
Egypt – 24 on order
China has 24 Su-35 jets, deliveries of which were completed in November 2018. In June 2019, Russia offered China a second batch of Su-35 fighters for which the Chinese are not known to have responded positively so far.
The Su-30 modernization program could hamper the sales prospect for the Su-35s by bringing the capabilities of Su-30 and Su-35 fighters closer. Prices of the Su-30 and Su-35 jets are pegged at $34 million (in 2019) and $83 million (in 2018) respectively. The Su-57 advanced jet on the other hand, is expected to cost $50 million per unit.
Iran’s defense minister announced in February 2016 that the country intends to buy an undisclosed number of the Su-30SM jets however Iran Mod disclosed earlier that Iran is interested to procure 48 J-10C from China.
Indonesia and UAE has rejected Russian offer to acquire Su-35 were rejected by both nations in favor of stealth F-35 fighter jets.
Russia has also offered these fighters to Turkey after it was expelled from the F-35 programme this July and Ankara too has not spoken out positively about any Su-35 purchase. Russian offered joint production of Su-57 was rejected by Turkey. Turkey also rejected Russian offer to acquire Su-35 aircraft.
Indian Air Force rejected HAL’s offer to license produce 40 new Su-30MKI in favor of domestically produced HAL Tejas and more advanced European Rafale aircraft.
Sales and prospects for the Su-35 have not gone beyond a firm sale of 24 jets to China and Egypt. Egypt, Indonesia and Algeria terminated contract. Once Su-30SME is delivered to Myanmar by the end of 2020 and Su-35 to Egypt by the end of 2023, there is no further prospect for Sukhoi.
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