Sukhoi Su-30 MKI: Indian Air Force Aircraft

By Naveen Singh|Updated : March 20th, 2019

Know about Technical specification of Sukhoi Su-30 MKI of the Indian Air Force here. The Indian Air Force has one of the most well-trained pilots of the world. When these pilots sit in one of the most fierce aircrafts, they make the enemy look back at its decision. This article will discuss all about the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI aircraft of the Indian Air Force.

Sukhoi SU-30 MKI: Indian Air Force Aircraft

The Sukhoi Su30MKI was developed by the Russian Company Sukhoi Aviation Corporation as 4th generation multirole air superiority fighter aircraft. It is an air superiority fighter with multirole capabilities from surface mission capabilities along with air to air air.

India entered in an MoU with Russia in the year 2000 and permitted the license production of Su-30MKIs at HAL’s plant. The Su-30MKI variant was inducted into the Indian Air Force in the year 2002, while the first indigenously assembled (at HAL facility) Su-30MKI was inducted in 2004.

The Indian variant of the aircraft was manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The MKI mentioned in Su-30 MKI is an acronym for "Modernizirovannyi, Kommercheskiy, Indiski", which means Modernized, Commercial, Indian. 

There are a total of 240 Sukhoi's in service out of which, HAL has manufactured 202 Su-30MKI fighter jets for the IAF making it the highest number so far made under license from the Russian OEM.

Technical Specification:

CharacteristicsTechnical Specification
Max SpeedMach 2
Range3000 Km
Combat Radius1300 Km
Service Ceiling17.3 Km

In addition to this, the Sukhoi Su-30 is well equipped with Brahmos Cruise missile to deter any incoming enemy aircraft.


Comparison with Dassault Rafale


  • Top speed of Sukhoi 30mkiis 2,120km/h, while top speed of Rafale is 2,130km/h.
    Rafale target up to a range of 3,700km. And Sukhoi can target up to a range of 3,000km.
    Rafale is 15m long, while Sukhoi is 22m long.
  • There is a huge difference in the weight of both the aircraft while they are empty and also during takeoff. Rafale is much lighter in both the condition than Sukhoi which makes it better in maneuverability too and hence better during dogfights.
  • Due to small size Rafale is not easily detected on the RADAR which makes it more stealthy than Sukhoi Su-30.
  • Hence Rafale is a clear winner here.

Rafale is expensive but the reasons are diverse including a better range, a wider range of weapons including cruise missiles, comprehensive support infrastructure and its interconnecting technology to the Mirage 2000 that is being upgraded and overhaul. The range is critical as well as employing long-range cruise missiles and the French agreeing for India to develop and integrate into the existing source code to deliver nuclear bombs. The Rafale ups its game on its weapons capability to include nuclear delivery. The training program attached to Rafale is more comprehensive than the Su-30MKI support program. These are the real key over the Su-30MKI.

The Indian Air Force is currently working with equipping the Su-30MKI with Israeli SPICE-2000 laser-guided bombs, to make it more deadly. Currently, only the Mirage-2000s are fitted with the SPICE-2000 bombs & these aircraft were successful in the pre-dawn strike mission done on the terror camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror outfit in Balakot, PoK.


Top Brass of Indian Air Force (IAF) is not fully convinced that additional Sukhoi-Su-30MKI fighter jets will actually help gauge fall of the fighter fleet in the force and Senior officials are also worried that IAF is already Top-heavy and actually needs Light and Medium class aircraft to strike the right balance in the force. Aircraft like Sukhoi-Su-30MKI have a higher operating cost when compared with light or medium class fighter jets. Su-30MKI fleet also faces routine spares and maintenance issues which have improved over the last few years but still has not reached up to prudent levels.


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