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Fomin A, Mar-2013. Su-30MKM in Service with RMAF, Take-Off Magazine

Fomin A, Mar-2013. Su-30MKM in Service with RMAF, Take-Off Magazine

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Published by: Foro Militar General on Apr 09, 2013
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06/04/2013

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 Worth about $900 million, the contract for 18 Russian-made Su-30MKM aircraft to bedelivered to RMAF was signed on the topgovernmental level in August 2003, with theRosoboronexport state corporation to fulfil it.The aircraft were to be developed by the Sukhoicompany and built by the Irkut Corp. Under the deal, in addition to delivering the fighters,Russia was to train RMAF flying and groundcrews and provide weapons and other equip-ment relevant to the effective operation of thefighters. A decision was taken to have Malaysia’spersonnel trained in their country. RMAF hadtaken delivery of the first two aircraft in June2007 and four more by the year-end, with thenext six in March 2008. The remaining six Su-30MKMs were delivered in summer 2009.The Su-30MKM fighter is a derivative of theproven Su-30MKI that has been in service withthe Indian Air Force (IAF) since 2002. Under the contracts fulfilled or still under way, IAF isto take delivery of as many as 272 Su-30MKIfighters by the end of this decade, of which50 were built by Russia’s Irkut Corporation and222 are to be licence-produced by Indian aircraftmanufacturer HAL under a licence programme.To date, Irkut has shipped 50 fighters of the typeto India as well as more than 120 licence produc-tion kits. The first Indian-assembled Su-30MKIhas been flown and handed over to IAF inNovember 2004. Since then, the number of Indian-produced Su-30MKIs in IAF’s inven-tory has been on the rise. As for today, more than170 Su-30MKIs – both delivered from Russiaand assembled by HAL – are in service with IAF.One more derivative of the fighter, theSu-30MKI(A), was developed by Sukhoiand delivered by Irkut Corp. The customer is Algerian Air Force which ordered 28 fight-ers of the type in 2006 and 16 more in 2010.Deliveries began in late 2007 and by 2013 a totalof 44 Su-30MKI(A) fighters have been built by Irkut and delivered to the customer.“The Su-30MKM is another step indeveloping the Su-30 platform further,” theSukhoi design bureau’s First Deputy Designer General Alexander Barkovsky told Take-off.The Malaysian version is wrapped around theSu-30MKI design, differing mostly in avionics but retaining its airframe, AL-31FP thrust vec-tor-controlled (TVC) engines and fly-by-wirecontrol system. Still, “there have been a number of radical modifications to the Malaysian air-craft”, Alexander Barkovsky said.They included, first and foremost, modifica-tions to the IFF transponder, self-defence suite,display system and podded optronic systems. For instance, the Su-30MKM mounts an advancedFrench-made IFF system, with its ‘plates’ situ-ated on top the nose section fore of the cockpit.
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Coming summer will mark the 10th anniversary of the landmark contract for 18 Sukhoi/Irkut Su-30MKM two-seatsupermanoeuvrable multirole fighters for the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The aircraft have been successfully operated byRMAF, being its most advanced and sophisticated aircraft type. The Irkut corporation delivered them to Malaysia between2007 and 2009. Now all of 18 superagile Su-30MKMs are in service with the 11th squadron of the Royal Malaysian Air Forcestationed at Gong Kedak air base in the Kelantan province, on the coast of the South China Sea, 300 km north of the nationalcapital, Kuala Lumpur. The international debut of the advanced Malaysian fighters took place at LIMA 2007 airshow at theisland of Langkawi. This time, Su-30MKMs are also the participants of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospaceexhibition and, no doubt, will become the main stars of the demonstration flight programme at LIMA '13.
Su-30MKM
Su-30MKM
IN SERVICE WITH RMAF
IN SERVICE WITH RMAF
Andrey FOMIN
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However, the main difference featured by theMalaysian variant is its laser warning systemsand missile approach sensors. They were devel-oped and in production by South African com-pany Avitronics, a member of the SAAB group,and are placed in various parts of the airframe.Two front-hemisphere laser-illumination sensor sets are under the nose section and the other two, which keep an eye on the rear hemisphere,sit on the sides of the air intakes. Between theformer, there is a UV three-sensor set to spotincoming missiles in the lookdown mode. Thesecond such set of UV sensors is on top thespine fairing aft of the air brake. It operates inthe lookup mode.In addition to the South African systems,the Su-30MKM’s self-defence suite comprisesan upgraded Russian radar-warning receiver,Russian electronic countermeasures (ECM)system in two pods mounted on wingtips, andRussian passive IR dispensers in the tail section(98 cartridges with flares and chaff). Actually, the share of Russian-made compo-nents is larger than that on the Indian variantdue to Russian components replacing some of the Indian and Israeli ones. Particularly, theSu-30MKI has two different digital comput-ers (the main one is Russian and the backup isIndian), while both of the Su-30MKM’s com-puters are Russian-made.In addition, the Su-30MKM has moreFrench-made systems. The Thales wide-angleHUD has ousted the Israeli ElOp HUD mount-ed by the Su-30MKI. The Su-30MKM’s colour multifunction LCDs are French-made as well.Like the Indian fighter, its Malaysian counter-part houses three 5x5” MFD55 displays at eachcombat station in the cockpit, with the rear sta-tion also fitted with the fourth, larger display –the 6x6” MFD66. Another novelty implemented in theMalaysian version is the Thales poddedoptronic systems (the Su-30MKI can carry the Israeli-made Litening electro-optical pod).There are two such systems: the LDP Damoclespod ensures round-the-clock air-to-surfaceattack while day and night flight and navigationis ensured by the NAVFLIR system housed by the pylon being the hardpoint for the Damocles. According to the official data at the Thales web site, the Damocles podded optronic sys-tem (the pod weighs 265 kg and is 2.5 m long)handles the surface search, target acquisition,identification and tracking, laser spot detec-tion and target ranging and designation for laser-guided weapons, including smart bombs.To this end, it has the thermal imaging capability  with the 3–5 micron wavelength as well as twolaser channels: a 1.5 micron eye-safe ranginglaser and a target illumination laser. The thermalimager’s extra-wide field of vision in the naviga-tion mode measures 24x18°, wide one – 4x3°and narrow one – 1x0.75°. The twofold elec-tronic magnification (zoom) is possible.The 3–5 micron infrared NAVFLIR naviga-tion system has the front-hemisphere look-down/lookup capability with the 24x18° opticalfield of view (the electronic zoom with 12x9°angle of view) and shows the resultant imagery on the HUD and/or MFDs. The acquisitionand identification range for objects measuring20x20 m is 10–12 km and those for 100x100 mobjects is 22.5–50 km. The system, except thepod and cooling system, weighs mere 20 kg.The rest of the Su-30MKM’s search andtargeting systems are Russian-made and most-ly similar to those on the Su-30MKI. They include, first and foremost, the TikhomirovNIIP Bars phased-array radar capable of simul-taneously tracking at least 15 aerial threats at ahigh spatial angle and engaging four of them ata time, effectively attacking ground targets andoperating in the air-to-air and air-to-surfacemodes concurrently. The passive phased array of the Bars radar is fitted with the addition-al hydraulic horizontal turn mechanism and
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offers ±70° total scan in azimuth and ±40°in elevation. The assured acquisition rangefor aerial threats with a radar cross-section of 3 sq.m equals at least 140 km.In addition, the Su-30MKM’s surveillanceand targeting gear includes the OLS-30I IRSTfrom the Urals Optical & Mechanical Plantnamed after E.S. Yalamov (UOMZ) and theSura helmet-mounted target designator fromthe Arsenal plant in Kiev. The infrared segmentof the IRST tracks aerial targets out at 90 kmin the rear hemisphere and 50 km in the fronthemisphere. The airspace scan zone measures±60° in azimuth and -15/+60° in elevation. TheOLS-30I’s wide field of view accounts for 60x10°and the narrow one is 20x5°, with the field of  view being 3x3° in the lock-on mode. The laserangefinder ranges ground targets out at 5 km atthe least and aerial ones out at 3 km at the least.The Su-30MKI’s navigation aids includethe TACAN short-range radio navigationsystem, LINS-GPS inertial/satnav systemand VOR/ILS/MRK landing equipment. Toensure safe formation manoeuvring, the air-craft also is fitted with formation flight lightson the sides of the fuselage nose section andair intakes, fins and wingtips. The avionics was integrated with the use of multiplex data- bus meeting the MIL-STD-1553B standard. As far as its weapons suite is concerned,the Su-30MKM is close enough to IAF’sSu-30MKI. The types of weapons used remain virtually unchanged and include up to tenRVV-AE medium-range active radar homingair-to-air missiles, up to eight R-27ER1 semi-active radar homing and R-27ET1 heat-seeking AAMs (including up to two R-27ET1 AAMs),up to six R-73E dogfight missiles, Kh-59MEair-to-surface missiles (two missiles withTV command guidance), Kh-31A or Kh-31P(six ASMs with active or passive radar homingheads), six TV-guided Kh-29TE missiles andfive Kh-29L semiactive laser beam-riding ASMs.Guided bombs include KAB-500Kr (OD) andKAB-1500Kr TV-guided bombs and advancedKAB-1500LG laser-guided bombs. The use of Kh-59ME missiles is supported by means of the APK-9E pod carried on the hardpoint undethe port air intake and that of Kh-29L missilesand KAB-1500LG bombs by the Damocles podmounted on the hardpoint under the starboardair intake.The non-guided weapons carried by theSu-30MKM are virtually the same as thosehauled by other aircraft of the Flanker family.The Su-30MKM carries up to eight HE grav-ity bombs or 500 kg disposable cluster bombunits, up to thirty-two 250 kg or 100 kg blast/fragmentation bombs and 80, 122 and266/340 mm (420 mm) folding-fin aerialrockets (80 S-8, 20 S-13 or four S-25 FFARsin various versions) in four rocket pods or launchers. The maximum payload mountedon 12 hardpoints totals 8,000 kg. To cap it all,
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