Su-30CM is a much more powerful war machine than the Soviet fighters, of many years standing in service of the Belarusian air force and air defense forces. However, Russian supplies of expensive military aircraft is not only a burden to Minsk in financial terms, but also threaten to complicate relations with neighboring States.
On 1 July, the 61st air force base and air defense forces in Baranavichy held a solemn ceremony dedicated to the production of su-30SM on combat duty.
Thus, Belarus became the owner of a very heavy and powerful in Europe fighter capable of, as noted by the American journal Military Watch, easy to confront any military aircraft, except for a small number of F-22 Raptor, posted on the European US bases.
Over a dozen fighters — the annual defence budget
Paradoxically, the opinions of Russian experts on the su-30SM was not so complimentary. Yes, at the end of 90-ies, when the prototype of this aircraft, none of the countries was not armed with not only fifth generation fighter, but even the 4++ generation. So the machine is with good combat radius, high maneuverability and a radar with a passive phased array looked a winner.
But today the fighters su-30SM/MKI anymore it’s no stretch to call the modern, which significantly limits the interest of potential buyers. In particular, these machines have not been included in the Indian MMRCA tender for the purchase of fighter, which competed in the European “Typhoon”, “Rafale” and “Gripen” as well as American F-16 and F-18.
Some experts even call into question the feasibility of the acquisition of heavy su-30SM for the armed forces of Belarus. They consider their tactical and technical characteristics excessive for a small country, and the price and cost of operation is excessive for its modest financial possibilities.
As reported at the time, Russian media, 12 su-30CM will cost the Belarusian budget of approximately $ 600 million. Which is comparable with the annual volume of our defence expenditure.
In addition, significant for Minsk can be complications in relationships with neighbors. It is not excluded that, having given after a long delay agreed to supply fighter jets to Belarus, the Kremlin hopes to drive another wedge between her and West. After all, the su-30CM — is a strike aircraft for long range.
What guided the military
It is important to assess what considerations guided high-ranking Belarusian military decided to purchase the su-30SM.
As announced in February 2016, Deputy defense Minister for armaments, major-General Igor Litenkov, the su-30SM to replace standing in the air force and air defense forces of Belarus, the Soviet MiG-29 fighters.
“Counting, what translates to us their contents, we came to the conclusion that the renewal of aircraft, albeit in a somewhat smaller number will require not as significant funding,” said Letenkov.
Su-30CM will have to replace not only the MiGs but the interceptor su-27P and su-27UB has already been decommissioned. Taking into consideration the fact that the su-30CM can be a bomber-missile (and scout too), he will have to work for a long time obsolete, decommissioned su-24M/Mr.
What can this machine
So that the reader could evaluate the validity of the arguments of the parties, will bring the real performance characteristics of the su-30CM, which becomes the main striking force of the Belarusian air force and air defense forces.
According to the manufacturer — the Corporation “Irkut” su-30CM “is designed to gain air superiority, blocking enemy airfields at great depths, destruction of air, ground and sea targets, including night time and adverse weather conditions”.
Practical flight range of the aircraft is 3 thousands of miles with two refueling in the air up to 8 thousand kilometers, combat radius of 1,500 kilometers, service ceiling — 17 km. Maximum speed at ground level — 1,350 km/h, at the height of 2125 km/h.
The phenomenal maneuverability of the aircraft is determined using the engine with thrust vectoring. Avionics of the su-30CM created on the principle of open architecture that simplifies the integration of new hardware and armaments in the airborne electronic equipment (avionics).
The su-30SM today mounted avionics, which is installed at the aviation complex of front aircraft of the fifth generation su-57. It consists of a radar station (RLS) “bars” with a passive phased array, which dramatically improves the performance of the radar.
The bars allows to detect all types of targets (ground, air and sea) at a distance of not less than 150 km, the radar can simultaneously track 15 air targets, choosing priority, and fire four of them. Optional can be used hanging containers with infrared and laser aiming devices.
Avionics the su-30SM also includes complex electronic warfare (EW) “Khibiny” and “Sorption”, which is not only able to suppress the relatively low power radar aircraft of the enemy, but to neutralize the more serious ground radar standby mode and anti-aircraft missile complexes.
Thanks to these characteristics, the potential of one su-30 is comparable to the capabilities of the two machines of the previous generation. No wonder it has a index 4++. Platform aircraft can be used for various types of weapons and equipment.
If necessary, the su-30SM can be used as a heavy interceptor, air defense, strike fighter-bomber, reconnaissance, air command post, and even electronic warfare aircraft.
To defeat the enemy su-30SM is equipped with a wide range of weapons class “air — air” and “air — surface”. With a maximum takeoff weight of 34.5 tons, the aircraft is able to raise on 12 hardpoints for up to 8 tons of payload.
It is not excluded that in the future the airborne weapons of the su-30CM can be enabled aviation version of a cruise missile (CU) of the Russian tactical complex Club — 3M-14АЭ (export version became famous after their use in Syria CU “Gauge”) with a range of up to 300 km high-Precision CU subsonic air-launched 3M-14АЭ is intended to engage various ground targets.