India IAF Sukhoi Su-30 MKI v/s China PLAAF Chengu J-20 (Breaking Myth of Chinese Supremacy over IAF)
Article written by indian Author for Indian audience
India and China are the two major military powers in Asia and they have procured and developed some of the best weapons platforms available today for their defence forces. China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) deployed its latest fighter Chengdu J-20 in February 2018 claiming it has stealth and is the most advanced fighter plane in all of Asia. However, the Indian Air Force topline fighter Sukhoi Su-30 MKI has been able to “see” the Chengdu J-20 flying over Tibet despite the latter using stealth technology.
According to IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, the Su-30MKI radar detected and tracked the Chengdu J-20 jet while the latter was flying over Tibet. The Su-30MKI currently has the N011M passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar but the IAF is already in the process of upgrading the fighters with the more advanced Zhuk active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar which will make it even more difficult for the Chengdu J-20 to hide.
While China says the Chengdu J-20 is a “fifth generation” fighter, there are doubts over its stealth and supercruise capabilities.
Here is a look at the features and capabilities of the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI and Chengdu J-20:
?Sukhoi Su-30 MKI
The IAF’s twin-seater multirole fighter aircraft is the product of an Indo-Russia joint venture between Sukhoi Design Bureau and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The Su-30 MKI is 21.9 metres long, 6.4 metres high and has a wingspan of 14.7 metres. The maximum take-off weight is 38,800 kg.
Powered by two Al-31FP turbojet engines, the Su-30 MKI can reach a maximum speed of 2120 kilometres per hour (Mach 1.9) and climb at a rate of 300 metre per second. The fighter has fly-by-wire flight control system and a range of 3,000 kilometres without refuelling. Its combat range increases to 8,000 kilometres with in-flight refuelling system. The Su-30 MKI has a cruising height of 11 to 13 kilometres and a climb rate of 300 metres per second.
Its two pilots sit inside a tandem glass cockpit equipped with an integrated avionics suite incorporating Elbit Su 967 head-up display (HUD), seven active-matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCD) and primary cockpit instrumentation. The aircraft also has multifunction displays (MFD) while t.he the rear cockpit has a monochromatic display screen for air-to-ground missile guidance
At present, the Su-30 MKIs have a N011M PESA radar which will soon be replaced with the more advance Zhuk AESA radar. The aircraft also has OLS-30 laser-optical locator system and Litening target designation pod to guide air-to-surface missile and laser-guided munitions.
The Su-30 MKI is one of the most heavily armed fighters in the world today. The IAF has modified 40 Su 30 MKIs to carry the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile. The fighter has a 30mm Gsh-30-1 cannon and 12 hardpoints capable of carrying missiles and bombs. The plane also has Tarang radar warning receiver and jammers for electronic warfare.
There is a pressing need for speeding up the Su-30MKI program in order to restore the Indian Air Force’s technological superiority over the Chinese. Essentially, India needs to pull off the same trick it did in the mid-1990s, when it responded to China’s mass procurement of Su-27/30 fighters with the original Su-30MKI program. Two decades on, India needs to respond to China’s Su-35 and J-31 jets with the Sukhoi Super 30.
The plan is to upgrade the first 80 Su-30MKIs to the level ‘Super Sukhois’ which will have highly advanced radars and weapon systems, IAF sources told PTI
The sources said the plan involves equipping the aircraft with long-range stand-off missiles up to the range of 300 km and a request for information (ROI) was issued recently for procuring such a weapon system from global vendors.Also under a Program the HAL and DRDO working to integrate Brahmos A missile with the MKI, a 44 of the Su 30 MKI can be modified to carry the Brahmos A missile, a Nuclear warhead is on the option. which may be fall under SFC,
The Possible Upgrades to the MKI is adding more effective Multi role, like Multiple ejector Rack, AESA radar, more powerful EW and Jamming systems, along with High performance Engines,
The missiles with a range around 300 kms would be in addition to the 450-km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles which would be carried by around 50 aircraft of the force.The same also integrating Anti armour missiles into Su 30 MKI to perform CAS missions, for doing anti armour and CAS missions, the fighter comes to very low, and need a visual identification before striking,
The aircraft would also have the highly-advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar along with the latest avionics systems. India have wide options of AESA, ERDE already developed a AESA multi mode radar with the support of Israeli Elta,Another major aspects is the Engines, the engine issue in Su 30
MKI is a Major problem, while it comes with Dual engines, even one fails the other can bring the fighter to home base, the 117S engine from Russia seems good, who also power the Su 35
?Super Sukhoi 30MKI Features
1.Improved Air-frame with 6000 flying hrs same as SU35-S
2.Chassis wheels braking system
3.Upgraded AL-31F production engines with 5th gen capabilities
4.Forward-facing NIIP N011M Bars
5.Fly by wire (FBW) with quadruple redundancy
6.Israeli Elbit SU 967 head-up display along with bi-cubic phase conjugated holographic displays & Seven liquid crystal multi-function displays.
7.Modern digital weapons control system as well as more advanced anti-jamming features.
8.Israeli-made LITENING targeting pod
9.Integration with Bramhos & Astra
Read more: How Su-30 MKI manages to detect top Chinese Stealth Jet J-20 Chengdu routinely ?
It is a single-seat, multirole stealth fighter for air-to-air, air-to-ground combat roles with supersonic cruise speed and integrated avionics which was test flown for the first time on January 11, 2011. The jet, developed and manufactured by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG), is 20.3-20.5 metres long, has a height of 4.45 metres and its wingspan is 12.88-13.50 metres. The maximum take-off weight is 34,000-37,000 kg. The fighter’s range is about 1,200 kilometres which can be increased up to 2,700 kilometres with external fuel tanks.
There are two lateral bays with four hardpoints each for air-to-air missiles while the fuselage has a larger bay under it for carrying missiles and other weapons. It also has an internal cannon. It is equipped with an AESA radar along with a chin-mounted infrared/electro-optic search and track sensor. The Chinese also claim that the J-20 has a passive electro-optical detection system which gives the pilot 360° coverage. The fighter, which has a glass cockpit with a bubble-shaped canopy, can access real-time data from Chinese military satellites, Divine Eagle anti-stealth Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and other airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) systems.
While the J-20 is currently powered by the Russian AL-31 engines, However J-20 lacks in high powered engine, Radar & Avoinics.But MKI being a 4th gen plane equipped with best systems of Russian, Indian, French & Israeli origins which make it more powerful to any 4th gen plane deployed under PlAAF.
Chinese facing major problems with engine development, they failed to develop a Jet engine. As J-20 is china’s latest weapon, it would never use against india. Maximum technology used in J-20 are stolen from USA through Cyber Crime. So This plane is developed from stolen technologies of F-22 & F-35. So if china uses it’s J-20 against india, then it’s vulnerability will be exposed. IAF is professional in handling Su-30Mki. All the MKI pilots in Indian Air Force are tough & highly experienced pilots compared to any countries in the world.