Indonesia put the F-16 and Su-30 side by side, Su-30 is twice as big

On April 9, the Indonesian National Military-Air Force [IdAF] celebrated its 77th anniversary. The backbone of the IdAF consists of 33 multirole American F-16 Fighting Falcon [A/B/C/D] fighters. However, Jakarta expects to receive 42 more fighter jets in the coming years. However, they will be the French Dassault Rafale.

Indonesia put the F-16 and Su-30 side by side, Su-30 is twice as big
Photo credit: IdAF

Along with the Indonesian F-16s, however, 11 Russian multirole Sukhoi Su-30MK2s also fly. There is one more representative of the Russian industry in the IDF and these are the 5 units of Sukhoi Su-27SKM.

The 77th anniversary celebration prompted the Indonesian Air Force Command to show off the equipment they have. Thus, on the runway at the Halim Perdanakusuma air base in East Jakarta, the American flagship F-16 and the Russian super-maneuverable Su-30MK2 fighter stood side by side.

And a photographer captured this composition. At first glance, something normal for such a celebration. But the photo makes us realize how different our sense of visualization is. For example, when we look at pictures of various fighter jets, we see them in the air during the field, or they are shot from the side performing some maneuvers, or they are parked on a runway [hangar].

Indonesia put the F-16 and Su-30 side by side, Su-30 is twice as big
Photo credit: IdAF

We read about their sizes all the time, but the numbers just pass before our eyes. However, this photo shows the huge size difference between the F-16 and the Su-30MK2. The Su-30MK2 is simply twice the size of its American “brother” in the IdAF.

The photo would not have impressed us if only the planes were shown. Then many people would assume that it is manually processed with software multimedia processing computer programs. But there are Indonesian pilots on the runway next to the planes. So when people are on the runway next to the planes, the size difference seems even bigger.

“At 62 m² the Sukhoi Su-30’s wing area is twice that of an F-16. It also has an empty weight of 17,000 kg, the same as that of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber of WWII! It’s ginormous…,” Air Power wrote in its Twitter account.

But not only the Su-30MK2 turns out to be larger in the photo than the F-16. Behind the two Su-30MK2 on the left and right, two Su-27SKMs are located. They are also larger than both F-16 and T-50 Golden Eagles, and other aircraft.

Of course, the photo raises questions. For example, if the Russians produced the Su-30MK2 as a single-engine fighter, wouldn’t the size be the same [or close] to the American F-16? it’s entirely possible, some experts say.

The American publication The Drive, comparing the photo of the IdAF, however, also makes a comparison according to the characteristics of the aircraft. The magazine writes that the Su-30MK2 is superior not only in size to the F-16. For example, on some of the main characteristics when comparing two fighters, the Su-30 has greater speed, high ceiling, duration of stay in flight and the mass of portable weapons compared to the F-16.

Leaving aside the now interesting picture, Indonesia plans to build a quality air fleet. The French Rafales, for example, are replacing the Russian Su-35s. Jakarta had intended to buy 11 Su-35 fighters, but pressure from Washington forced the Asians to seek the services of France’s Dassault Aviation.

However, Indonesia will have a 4.5 or 5 generation fighter. The country is a partner with South Korea on the KF-21 Boramae program. This is the latest South Korean fighter, claiming to shift the layers of the market in this category. Seoul recently launched two prototypes that are already flying and testing weapons systems, avionics and more. This fighter is expected to enter serial production in the next 16 months.

Supersonic 4.5-gen KF-21 Boramae fighter flew for the first time
Photo credit: YouTube

Indonesia’s participation in the program is nearly half a billion USD. Jakarta pays them in different installments and there have been hesitations and problems with their payment. There were rumors that Indonesia would withdraw from the program, but in November 2022, Jakarta resumed payments to the program. If Indonesia fulfills its financial commitments, it will participate with a 10% share of the total in the KF-21 Boramae fighter.


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