Sukhoi Su-30MKM

The Sukhoi Su-30MKM (NATO reporting name: Flanker-H) is a supermaneuverable fighter of the Royal Malaysian Air Force. It is a variant of the Su-30 series fighters, with many significant improvements over the original Su-30MK export version.[2] The Su-30MKM was developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and is based on the Su-30MKI of the Indian Air Force. Both aircraft have common airframe, thrust vectoring engines and digital fly-by-wire system, however the MKM version differs from the MKI mainly in the composition of the onboard avionics.[1] It can carry up to 8,000 kg (17,637 lb) payload over a 1,296 km (805 mi; 700 nmi) un-refueled combat radius.[2]

Su30mkm flying at lima two (cropped).jpg
A Royal Malaysian Air Force Su-30MKM
Role Air superiority fighter, multirole fighter
National origin Russia
Manufacturer Irkut Corporation
Designer Sukhoi
First flight August 2003; 19 years ago (2003-08)
Introduction 2007
Status In service
Primary user Royal Malaysian Air Force
Number built 18
Developed from Sukhoi Su-30[1]

In 2003, the Su-30MKM was selected by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF). In August 2003, during the course of President Vladimir Putin's official visit to Malaysia, the contract for the Su-30MKM aircraft was signed. Except for Russian MiG-29s, the RMAF has previously operated aircraft of Western origin. At the time of delivery the Su-30MKMs were the most advanced and heavy fighters in Southeast Asia.


Su-30MKM flying at LIMA

In August 2003, Malaysia signed a US$900 million contract with Irkut Corporation for 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKMs. Malaysia operates eight legacy F/A-18D Hornet, and was offered Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, but the Royal Malaysian Air Force chose the Su-30MKM instead. The Su-30MKM is an advanced variant, with considerable performance related improvements over its Su-30MK/MKK counterparts.[3] Irkut Corporation subcontracted the task of manufacturing the canards, stabilizers and fins to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. As part of the contract agreement, Russia sent the first Malaysian cosmonaut to the International Space Station. It was a project initiated under the government-to-government offset agreement through the purchase of Su-30MKM fighter jets for the Royal Malaysian Air Force. Under this agreement the Russian Federation bore the cost of training two Malaysians for space travel and for sending one to the International Space Station (ISS) in October 2007 under the Angkasawan program.[4]

The first two aircraft were handed over to the RMAF in May 2007 at Irkut's aircraft manufacturing facility at Irkutsk, Russia. The two aircraft were later delivered to RMAF Gong Kedak, Malaysia in June 2007 by an An-124-100 transport aircraft. By December 2007, seven months after the delivery of the first two aircraft, the RMAF had taken delivery of six Su-30MKMs. The eighteenth and last aircraft arrived at RMAF Gong Kedak in August 2009.[5]

In 2016, Su-30MKM successfully dropped a GBU-12 Paveway laser-guided bomb in a firing exercise. An aircraft registered number M52-08 successfully dropped the bombs at Kota Belud firing range in Sabah on 27 November 2016.[6] This makes the first Russian-made Sukhoi combat aircraft that can use the American-made weapon.

According to Malaysian defense Minister Mohamad Sabu, Malaysia has grounded 14 of 18 Su-30MKM due to engine problems and unavailability of spare parts in 2018.[7][8][9] To overcome this problem and increase the readiness of the Su-30MKM fleets, Malaysia has approved the budget worth RM2.2 billion for the Su-30MKM to be upgrade locally by Aerospace Technology Systems Corporation. The first upgraded aircraft was received in 2019 in LIMA 2019 exhibition.[10][11]


Su-30MKM from rear

The Su-30MKM was developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and is based on the Su-30MKI. The MKM version differs from the MKI mainly in the composition of its onboard avionics. Thales supplies the Head-up display (HUD), navigational forward-looking IR system NAVFLIR and the Damocles targeting pod. The aircraft carries missile approach warning sensor (MAWS) and laser warning sensor (LWS) manufactured by Avitronics (South Africa).[1] It can carry up to 8,000 kg/ 17,650 lb of weapons and payloads over 700 nmi unrefueled combat radius.[2]

"The Su-30MKM can legitimately claim super-maneuverability via digital fly-by-wire, canards", and two Saturn AL-31FP engines with thrust vectoring "producing 27,500 lb thrust each with afterburners. This gives them an edge in close-in dogfights, allowing the pilot to rapidly point the plane at potential targets to draw them within the AA-11/R-73 Archer’s wide infrared seeker cone, then launch and quickly change energy state and direction."[2]

The electronic warfare (EW) systems, phased array radars, and optical-location systems with laser rangefinder were all produced by leading Russian manufacturers. At that time, officers from the RMAF formed a Su-30MKM Project Team which was based in Moscow; the team actively participated in the integration of all the avionics systems.[1] The aircraft is capable of conducting SEAD missions when equipped with two KNIRTI SAP-518 jamming pods and Kh-31P anti-radiation missiles. The KNIRTI SAP-518 covers NATO surface-to-air and air-to-air threats in the G-J bands. It is equipped with NIIP N011M phased array radar for long range aerial combat which can track up to 15 targets and engage four targets simultaneously. It can also be equipped with a Thales Damocles Laser Designation surveillance and targeting Pod for precision ground attack. It has a rear-facing radar, Thales HUD, and French NAVFLIR (Navigation Forward Looking Infra-red). Missile Approaches Warning System (MAWS) and laser warning sensor (LWS) are supplied by Saab Avitronics of South Africa.[12]



Specifications (Su-30MKM)Edit

Su-30MKM seen from top and bottom

Data from Irkut Corporation,[15] Sukhoi[16]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 21.935 m (72 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 14.7 m (48 ft 3 in)
  • Height: 6.36 m (20 ft 10 in)
  • Wing area: 62 m2 (670 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 18,400 kg (40,565 lb) [17]
  • Gross weight: 26,090 kg (57,519 lb) typical mission weight[15]
  • Max takeoff weight: 38,800 kg (85,539 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Lyulka AL-31FP afterburning turbofan engines, 123 kN (28,000 lbf) with afterburner


  • Maximum speed: 2,120 km/h (1,320 mph, 1,140 kn) / M2.0 at high altitude[15]
1,350 km/h (840 mph; 730 kn) / M1.09 at low altitude
  • Range: 3,000 km (1,900 mi, 1,600 nmi) at high altitude[15]
1,270 km (790 mi; 690 nmi) at low altitude
  • Ferry range: 8,000 km (5,000 mi, 4,300 nmi) with two in-flight refuellings[16]
  • Service ceiling: 17,300 m (56,800 ft)
  • g limits: +9g
  • Rate of climb: 300 m/s (59,000 ft/min) +
  • Wing loading: 401 kg/m2 (82 lb/sq ft)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.96



See alsoEdit

Related development

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2008-03-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b c d "Malaysias SU-30MKMs Will a New Competition Bring More?". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  3. ^ "NBC News - Breaking News & Top Stories - Latest World, US & Local News". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  4. ^ "ANGKASA | Agensi Angkasa Negara". Archived from the original on 2014-12-04. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  5. ^ Hillebrand, Niels. "MILAVIA Aircraft - Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker Operators". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Malaysia adapts Russian-built jets to drop US-made bombs". 8 August 2017.
  7. ^ Chuanren, Chen. "New Malaysian Government Reveals Su-30MKM Readiness Woes". Aviation International News. Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  8. ^ financetwitter; financetwitter. "Only 4 Fighter Jets Can Fly – A Result Of Incompetency & Corruption By These 4 UMNO Leaders". Retrieved 2021-11-01. {{cite web}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  9. ^ "UAWire - Malaysia complains about problems with Russian Su-30 fighters". Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  10. ^ "Defensworld-Malaysian Sukhoi 30MKM Fighter Get New Life Extension".
  11. ^ "Life Extension Programme RMAF Sukhois".
  12. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-09. Retrieved 2015-01-21.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "World Air Forces 2019". Flightglobal Insight. 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Sukhoi Squadron Now 12th, Updated - Malaysian Defence".
  15. ^ a b c d Su-30MK performance (in Russian), Irkut, retrieved 30 April 2015
  16. ^ a b "Su-30MK Aircraft performance page." Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine Sukhoi. Retrieved: 1 January 2015.
  17. ^ Hillebrand, Niels, "Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker Specifications", milavia, Niels Hillebrand, retrieved 16 December 2010

External linksEdit