Russian Su-30SM fighters will be equipped with hypersonic anti-ship missiles

MOSCOW, (BM) – Russian Su-30SM fighters will receive a new heavy air-to-surface missile, learned citing Russian media Izvestia. The creation of the product is carried out as part of the development work “Adaptation-Su”.

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According to experts, we are talking about equipping the Sukhoi with the Kh-32 liquid hypersonic missile, which was previously used only on long-range Tu-22M3 bombers [it is also possible that an even more modern super-high-speed ammunition, still secret, will appear in the arsenal of fighters]. Such powerful missiles are capable of radically increasing the capabilities of aviation – with them, aircraft will be able to hit surface and ground targets at a distance of up to 1000 kilometers.

Super Speed ​​New

Russian engineers are developing a fundamentally new powerful weapon to equip Sukhoi fighters, Izvestia sources in the military-industrial complex told, without specifying a specific model. The planes will also receive upgraded onboard electronics.

According to the documents at the disposal of Izvestia, development work (ROC) on the modernization of the Su-30SM began in 2015 and received the designation “Adaptation-Su”. Several leading companies of the military-industrial complex are involved in it, including the State Machine-Building Design Bureau “Raduga” named after A.Ya. Bereznyak. GosMKB is the largest domestic manufacturer of supersonic and hypersonic weapons for aviation.

To ensure the use of the latest ammunition, according to the documents, the N011M Bars radar will be modified. They will also update the fighter’s computer system and the onboard defense system, and replace foreign components with domestic ones. Completion of work on the development of modernization of the aircraft is scheduled for the end of the year.

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Under the name of the ROC “Adaptation-Su” there are several different programs for the creation of missiles for attack aircraft, Dmitry Kornev, editor of the militaryrussia portal, told Izvestia. These include work on the Kh-32, a modern modification of the rather old Kh-22 missile, which is used on the Tu-22M3 bomber. In addition, within the framework of these R&D projects, more modern hypersonic missiles, still secret, are being created.

“The Kh-32 is a powerful dual-use missile. It can be used as an anti-ship or for firing at targets with previously known coordinates,’‘ explained Dmitry Kornev. – To penetrate the protected hull of the ship, a HEAT warhead is used. Several of these missiles are capable of destroying an aircraft carrier. And one hit is enough to disable any ship of less class. If such ammunition is adapted for the Su-30SM, then any front-line aviation regiment will be able to use long-range cruise missiles with almost hypersonic speed. Potentially, “thirty” is capable of carrying one X-32 on the main suspension under the fuselage”.

The Kh-32 surpasses the Soviet prototype in all respects. At an altitude of 40 km, it is capable of accelerating up to five speeds of sound, which allows it to be classified as hypersonic. With a diameter of 90 cm, the rocket weighs almost 6 tons. The increased fuel supply allows it to hit targets at a distance of up to 1000 kilometers. An important update is the new anti-jamming seeker. Such characteristics were chosen to reliably overcome the most powerful air defense systems, including the protection of aircraft carrier strike groups.

In 2016, the Ministry of Defense announced the adoption of the X-32 into service with Tupolev bombers. The possibility of equipping fighters with these missiles was not previously reported.

In May of this year, the media, citing sources in the military-industrial complex, reported that they were testing another hypersonic ammunition for the Tu-22M3M, which did not belong to the X-32 missile line. Its designation is still unknown.

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Hypersound for fighter

Russia already has experience in successfully adapting heavy hypersonic missiles for use in fighters. In his message to the Federal Assembly in March 2018, Vladimir Putin announced for the first time that the country had modernized MiG-31K interceptors equipped with Daggers.

At the end of 2018, the first 10 MiG-31Ks with these newest hypersonic ammunition took over on experimental combat duty. Since then, the aircraft equipped with them have been regularly used in exercises and demonstrated at aviation parades in Moscow.

To equip the MiG-31K with new weapons and turn it into a strike machine, serious changes had to be made to the design. As Izvestia previously reported, the radar was removed from the plane and the fuel supply was increased. The set of instruments in the cockpit also had to be changed. Adapting even heavier Kh-32s or their analogues to the Su-30SM will require no less serious changes.

“Daggers” [Kinzhal] are planned to be used mainly against ground targets. The Kh-32 has even greater weight and dimensions in comparison with them and is intended mainly for combating detachments of enemy ships.

Su-30SM have been serially supplied to the troops since 2013. Today they have become the most numerous type of new fighters in service. More than a hundred units have already received combat units of the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Russian Navy.

The aircraft has an extensive arsenal of precision weapons and bombs. Navy fighters are also equipped with X-31 anti-ship missiles and are regularly trained to destroy surface targets with them.

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Naval aviation regiments with such fighters are based in the Crimea and the Kaliningrad region, as well as in the north of the country. The naval Sukhoi and their crews were regularly sent to participate in the Syrian operation. There they not only covered the strike vehicles, but also participated in attacks on ground targets themselves. In April 2018, during a joint exercise with the Syrian side, the Su-30SM sank a decommissioned patrol ship with anti-ship missiles.

Aircraft of the Su-30 family are one of the most popular export products of the Russian military-industrial complex. In addition to Russia, the Su-30SM are in service with Armenia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Export variants of the “thirty” are available in the arsenals of China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Algeria and many other states.


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