The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is a super-manoeuvrable twinjet air superiority fighter which is manufactured under license from Russia by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian Air Force. The constantly evolving Sukhoi Su-30MKI has provided the Indian Air Force an upper hand in matters of air superiority. Here are some fascinating facts about this indigenously built aircraft:
1. The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is a super-manoeuvrable aircraft, meaning it can do various manoeuvres which are not possible from a pure aerodynamic angle.
2. It is powered by two engines (Twinjet) which is not only more fuel efficient but also provides safety from a single engine failure.
3. Being an Air superiority fighter, it allows IAF to enter into an enemy’s airfield and form a complete dominance over it.
4. The Sukhoi Su-30 MKI is built by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), but was initially designed by Russia’s Sukhoi Corporation.
5. A canard (small forewing before the main wing) design combined with vectoring nozzles give this aircraft more stability and manoeuvrability.
6. It is approximately 73 feet in length and 21 feet in height with a wingspan of 48 feet.
7. It is a two crew aircraft which can reach a maximum speed of 2,100 km/h (Mach 2.0).
8. Combat missions of 3.75 hours can be carried out by this aircraft which has a range of 3000 km.
9. The integrated air refuelling system of this jet allows it to have flights of up to ten hours.
10. The Sukhoi Su-30 MKI has 12 hard points for missiles and bombs which can be further increase to 14 by using multiple ejector racks.
11. Fitted with BrahMos and the Nirbhay Cruise missiles, the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI increases IAF’s striking capability.
12. Recently, the MKIs took part in the Garuda-V exercise in which they manoeuvred with other aircrafts including the French Rafales.
13. Currently, India has seven IAF bases with Su-30MKIs which are expected to be joined by six other bases by 2017.
14. Unfortunately, IAF has lost six Su-30 MKIs in various crashes.
15. At present, IAF has 194 Sukhoi Su-30MKIs with 72 more on order.