Russia will upgrade its Su-30SM fighter jets with armaments and on-board equipment from the more powerful Su-35 aircraft and has offered to do the same to the Indian Su-30MKI.
“The Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jet will be standardized with the 4++ generation Su-35 fighter by upgrading its onboard equipment and armament to cut its cost price and breathe a new life into the plane,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told journalists on Tuesday.
The heavily upgraded Su-30SM plane may open a new niche for Russia in India, he said. "Considering that there are about 200 such planes in India [the Su-30MKI as the baseline version of the Su-30SM], an opportunity will probably open for modernizing this fleet to prolong its service life," the vice-premier explained, according to TASS.
Under Russia’s diversification program and amid the declining volume of the defense procurement plan, domestic defense enterprises should shift their focus towards life cycle maintenance and upgrade, Borisov noted.
During their upgrade the Su-30SM fighters would also get AL-41F-1S engines mounted on the Su-35 planes thus increasing thrust to be able to carry heavier armaments. Irkut Corp had announced last week that the prototype of the upgraded Su-30SM would be ready before the end of 2019.
The Su-30SM upgrade will boost the fighter’s combat capabilities: it will increase the range of detecting and identifying air targets and furnish the plane with new precision weapons to hit air, ground and sea targets at a range of several hundred kilometers, TASS said.