April 11, 2012: STRATEGY PAGE
The Russian Air Force has ordered thirty Su-30SM fighters, to be delivered by 2015. This is the first Su-30 model for the Russian Air Force that uses thrust vectoring (the ability of the engine to direct its exhaust a bit and enhance maneuverability). The Su-30SM is a variant of the 38 ton Su-30MKI, which is exported to India.
Both aircraft are most similar to the two seat American F-15E fighter-bomber. The Su-30MKI, even though equipped with Western electronics, costs less than $40 million each, about half what an equivalent F-15 costs. The Su-30MKI can carry more than eight tons of bombs and hit targets over 1,500 kilometers away. The Su-30SM is believed to be very similar in capabilities and price. Apparently the Russians were so impressed with the Indian experience with the Su-30MKI that they decided to get something similar for themselves.