The Russian Defense Ministry has signed a follow-on contract with Irkut for 30 more Su-30SM two-seat multirole fighters, for delivery by 2016. This deal follows one concluded in March last year, for 30 such aircraft for delivery by 2015.
Irkut delivered the first pair of Su-30SMs in November last year. These aircraft are currently undergoing trials at the Glits firing range in Akhtubinsk, Southern Russia. According to Russian air force commander Gen. Victor Bondarev, the service expects “more than ten” Su-30SMs this year. Irkut president Oleg Demchenko in turn pledged that timely deliveries to the Russian defense ministry are “the main priority for our company.”
The Su-30SM was developed from the Su-30MKI, which was designed to the specific requirements of the Indian air force. The Su-30MKI was the first mass-produced supersonic fighter to have thrust vectoring. The Su-30SM is a customized version for the Russian Air Force with new ESM, IFF and communications systems, while retaining the Tikhomirov NIIP N-014 Bars passive phased array radar. The Su-30SM also has NPP Zvezda K-36DM ejection seats, and a weapons set–current and future high precision air-to-air and air-to-surface systems–specified by the Russian air force.
In addition to combat missions, the Su-30SM can be used for pilot training as part of their qualification in single-seat fourth- and fifth-generation fighters.