Su-30 Flanker-C [Russia]
The present IAF Sukhoi Su-30K Flanker-Cs are a step forward from the original Su-27 with features like enhanced automated targeting against ground & sea targets. The autopilot is able to restore aircraft to right side-up level flight from any altitude when panic button is depressed.
The Su-30MKI on the other hand, which is to be delivered only after 2001, is the IAF version of the Su-37 and will have all its design features, advanced avionics and more. The features listed below refer to the Su-30MKI and not the Su-30K, unless specified otherwise.
For better agility and takeoff/landing performance, the aircraft has been fitted with forward canards. In terms of aerodynamic layout, the aircraft is an unstable integral triplane; wing + horizontal tail + canard. The stability and control are assured by a remote control system. The canard notably assists in controlling the aircraft at large angles of attack (AoA) and bringing it to a level flight condition.
The Su-30MK has a newly developed wing with increased relative thickness, accommodating a larger amount of fuel. The wing will have high-lift devices featured as deflecting leading edges and flaperons acting as both the flaps and ailerons. At subsonic flights, the wing profile curvature is changed by a remote control system which deflects the leading edges & flaperons versus the AoA.
The aircraft has virtually no AoA limitations. It can fly flatwise to the air stream, with its tail forward; with 90º and even 180º AoA. It can locate targets with its radars and attack them with its weapons from any position. This feature is extremely important for both air combat and the evasion of enemy missile attacks.
For a greater combat employment range, the aircraft has an in-flight refueling system which can greatly extend it's endurance and is only limited by the pilot's physical conditions. That is one of the reasons as to why the IAF chose the two-seater version.
The cockpit will be provided with containers to store reserves of food & water, a waste disposal system and increased amounts of oxygen. The KD-36DM ejection seat is inclined at 30º, to help the pilot resist aircraft accelerations in air combat.
The Su-30MKI will be fitted the AL-31FP turbofans which can operate in a wide range of altitudes and flight speeds. The engine works steady in conditions of deep surge of the air intake with M=2 as well as in flat, straight and inverted spins.
The Al-31FP turbofans feature thrust vectoring in the vertical and even in the horizontal planes. In order to increase the maneuverability of the aircraft in the horizontal plane while retaining its high maneuverability in the vertical plane, the turbofans are equipped with modified swivelling nozzles. Modification of the construction of swivelling nozzles has been brought about following the testing results of the Su-37 and features two main distinctions.
First, the nozzle drive connection is effected now from the aircraft fuel system and not from the hydraulic system. The change-over to the fuel system, to control swivelling nozzles, enhances dependability of the aircraft and its survivability in air combat.
Second, the axis itself with respect to which nozzle can be deflected; ± 15º, in the pitch plane, is deflected from the aircraft's vertical axis by 32º. Thus, with the nozzle deflection, the decomposition of the thrust vector is ensured in to vertical & horizontal components. The availability of the lateral thrust vector eliminates the need to provide different thrust levels when performing maneuvers in the horizontal plane and considerably raises its controllability in the yaw mode. Simultaneously high maneuverablity in the vertical plane is also maintained.
There is no a strain-gauge engine control stick to change engine thrust in the cockpit, rather a conventional engine throttle control lever. The pilot controls the aircraft with the help of a standard control stick positioned between his legs. On the pilot's right there is a switch which is turned on for performing difficult maneuvers. After the switch-over, the on-board computer determines the level of use of aerodynamic surfaces and swivelling nozzles and their required deflection angles.
It's high thrust-to-weight ratio and the thrust vector control operated by the integrated fly-by-wire system along with a wing-tail-canard aerodynamic configuration will achieve what Sukhoi officials describe as super high manoeverability. The aircraft is capable of near-zero speed airspeed at high angles of attack and super dynamic aerobatics in negative speeds up to 200 km per hour.
Initially thought to be a variable-geometry fighter, the Su-27 amazed the world with its technological capabilities. Designed as a counterpart to the American F-15 Eagle, the Su-27 has successfully narrowed the technological gap between the leading Americans and trailing Soviets (Russians).