Regulatory approval has been received for the first flight of the Sukhoi Su-30SM2 aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Force (RuAF) equipped with the powerful AL-41F-1C engine drawn from the advanced Su-35 fighter jet.
The aircraft manufacturer, Sukhoi Corp., has signed a contract to check the readiness of the aircraft for the first flight with the new engine. The Su-30SM2, also called Super-Sukhoi is expected to take off before the end of the year, Russian publication Izvestia reported.
New radar, on-board electronics
Initially, it was planned to strengthen the armament and change the composition of the avionics. In this form, the aircraft received the designation Su-30SM1. In 2018, following the order of the President of Russia to unify the Su-30SM and Su-35S as much as possible, preparation of the version with the AL-41F-1C began. In addition, the possibility of installing the modern and powerful Irbis radar instead of the current Bars radar was also taken up. The designation of this variant was changed to Su-30SM2.
“A more powerful engine from the Su-35 will provide greater thrust allowing for an increased amount of ammunition and equipment that the plane can have on board, ”Honored Test Pilot Colonel Igor Malikov was quoted as saying by Izvestia.
Upgrade of all Russian Su-30s to Su-30SM2 standards
In the future, it is planned to completely replace the radar and bring the vehicles already in the Russian air force t to the CM2 standard. The Su-30SM in the basic configuration are the most numerous modern air assets in service with Russia and its closest allies.
During a visit to the Irkutsk Aviation Plant in August, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that by the end of the year his department plans to sign a contract for the construction of 21 Su-30SM2 fighters and 25 Yak-130 trainer aircraft. The total cost of the order will be more than RUB 100 billion.
Development work has been underway to increase combat capabilities and import substitution of foreign components on the base Su-30SM, designated "Adaptation-Su". Within its framework, the aircraft is also being finalized for the use of new air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons.
Product 117C engine
The AL-41F-1S engine is known as "product 117C." Compared with the current AL-31-FP power plant of the Su-30SM, its thrust has been increased by 16%, up to 14,500 kgf. The service life of the engine is also doubled, up to 4 thousand hours, without increasing the mass and dimensions.
Equipped with a plasma ignition system, the AL-41F-1S is more economical than the AL-31FP, which is currently installed on the Su-30 series of aircraft. With the same amount of fuel, the fighter can stay in the air longer.
The increased power is needed not only to create a reserve of traction. It is needed to power the more advanced avionics on board. Thanks to this, it became possible to install a powerful radar on the aircraft with an increased detection range of air and ground targets and to provide power to the electronic warfare system.
According to the engine developer, the new engine will simplify and reduce the cost of servicing and extend the service life of the Su-30SM already purchased by Russia and its allies.