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SU-30MKM on static display behind RMAF personnel
Role Multi Role Combat Aircraft and Air Superiority Fighter
National origin Russia
Manufacturer Sukhoi
Designer Sukhoi Design Bureau
Introduction 2007
Status Operational
Primary user Royal Malaysian Air Force(RMAF)
Number built 18
Unit cost
US$35–53 million
Developed from Sukhoi Su-30

The Sukhoi Su-30MKM (Modernizirovannyi Kommercheskiy Malaysia – Modernized Export Malaysia) is strongly similar to India’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI. Like its Indian counterpart, the Su-30MKM is a substantial advance upon the original Su-30K export version, maintaining much of basic airframe but incorporating a number of advances from the Sukhoi Su-35 and Sukhoi Su-37 project.[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.


In 2003 Malaysia committed to purchase 18 Su-30MKMs. As part of the contract, Russia sent the first Malaysian cosmonaut to the International Space Station. It was a project 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.[2]

In August 2003, Malaysia signed a US$900 million contract with Irkut Corporation for 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKMs. Malaysia operates the F/A-18D Hornet, and was offered Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, but chose the Su-30MKM. The Su-30MKM is an advanced variant, whose performance involves considerable improvements over Su-30MK/MKK fighters.[3] Irkut has also subcontracted the task of manufacturing the canards, stabilizers and fins to HAL Nasik.[4]

The first aircraft were delivered by Irkut in 2002–2004 and are now being produced under license by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited from India. The successful operation of the Su-30MKI in India greatly influenced the decision of the Malaysian officials in the selection process of the multi-role aircraft.[5]


Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flanker

A Su-30MKM in flight

The Su-30MKM was developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and is based on the Su-30MKI. The aircraft has the same airframe, engines with the thrust vector control (TVC), and an advanced digital fly-by-wire system. The MKM version differs from the MKI by virtue of the composition of the on board avionics. Thales supplies the Head-up display (HUD), navigational forward-looking IR system NAVFLIR and laser designation pod (LDP Damocles). Aircraft carries missile approach warning sensor (MAWS) and laser warning sensor (LWS) manufactured by the AVITRONICS company (South Africa).[5]

SU-30MKM cockpit

Cockpit of SU-30MKM. Retracted refueling probe, covered HUD (red, inside cockpit) and optical targeting pod (red bulge) visible .

The electronic warfare (EW) system, phased array radar, optic-location system with the laser rangefinder are all produced by leading Russian manufacturers. At that time, officers from the RMAF have formed a Su-30MKM Project Team which is based in Moscow; the team has actively participated in the integration of all the avionics systems.[5]

The Su-30MKM can legitimately claim super-maneuverability via digital fly-by-wire, canards, and two thrust vectoring Lyulka AL-31FP engines producing 27,500 lb thrust each with afterburners. This gives them an edge in close-in fights, 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.

For longer range aerial combat, the Su-30MKM also bears the NIIP N011M phased array radar system that can track up to 15 targets and simultaneously engage 4. The standard aerial weapon for beyond visual range engagements is the AA-12/R-77, but the aircraft can also carry infrared-guided AA-10s.

Su-30s are truly multi-role aircraft, with strong ground attack capabilities if required. The Su-30MKM's Damocles targeting pod adds to its air-to-ground capability. For strike missions, it can carry large (up to 8,000 kg/ 17,650 lb) and diverse weapon loads over a large unrefueled combat radius (more than 700 nmi).[1]


Flag of Malaysia Malaysia

Specifications (Su-30MKI)[]

Data from KNAAPO,[8] and Sukhoi[9]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 21.935 m (72.97 ft)
  • Wingspan: 14.7 m (48.2 ft)
  • Height: 6.36 m (20.85 ft)
  • Wing area: 62.0 m² (667 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 18,400 kg[10] (40,565 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 24,900 kg (54,895 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 38,800 kg (85,600 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Lyulka AL-31FP turbofans with thrust vectoring, 123 kN with afterburner (27,600 lbf) each


  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.9 (2,120 km/h, 1,317 mph) at altitude; 1,350 km/h, 839 mph near ground level
  • Range: 3,000 km (1,620 nmi)at altitude; (1,270 km, 690 nmi near ground level; with no external fuel tanks)
  • Endurance: 3.75 hrs (up to 10 hr with in-flight refueling)
  • Service ceiling: 17,300 m (56,800 ft)
  • Rate of climb: >300 m/s (>45,275 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 401 kg/m² (82.3 lb/ft²)
  • Thrust/weight: 1.1


  • Guns: 1 × 30 mm GSh-30-1 gun (150 rounds)
  • Hardpoints: 12 (2 × wing-tip AAM launch rails, 6 × pylons under-wing, 2 × pylon under-engine nacelle, and 2 × pylons in tandem in the "arch" between the engines. It can be increased to 14 using multiple ejector racks. with a capacity of 8 tonnes of external stores.

Air-to-air Missiles:

      • 10 × R-77 (AA-12) active radar homing medium range AAM
      • 6 × R-27ER (AA-10C) semi-active radar guided, long range AAM
      • 6 × R-27ET (AA-10D) Infrared homing extended range version, long range AAM
      • 2 × R-27R (AA-10A) semi-active radar guided, medium range AAM
      • 2 × R-27T (AA-10B) infrared homing seeker, medium range AAM
      • 6 × R-73 (AA-11) short range AAM
      • 3 × Novator KS-172 AAM-L
      • 4 × MBDA MICA (unknown variant) short to medium range AAM [11]

Air-to-surface Missiles:

See also[]


External links[]

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