Russia to start upgrading its Su-30SM in 2018

A Russian Air Force Su-30SM

The Su-30SM will go into a modernization phase in 2018, and is expected to be fully modernized in 2019. During a visit to the Irkutsk Aviation Plant, Russian Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said the Su-30SM performed “in the best possible way in Syria and proved all their capabilities.”

The modernization will mostly focus on adapting the aircraft to host a new variety of air weapons such as the KAB-250 guided bomb and the air-to-surface X-59MK2 cruise missile.

The KAB-250 is a 500 lb bomb that can be both laser-guided and satellite-guided through GPS/GLONASS making it capable of hitting a target within a three-meter radius. It is Russia’s response to the American Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) fitted on the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

KAB-250 guided bombKAB-250 guided bomb

As for the X-59MK2 cruise missile, it has a 683 lb warhead capable of hitting a target at more than 290 kilometre (157 nautical miles), and has a circular error probable (CEP) of three meters. One of its main use is to destroy stationary targets with no radar or infrared signature. It can be stealth-launched making it a weapon of choice for the next generation aircraft such as the Sukhoi T-50 (PAK FA).

As for the avionic upgrades, no details on the exact nature of the upgrades were given. However, Izvestia confirms the aircraft will see some avionic upgrades.

There are more than 100 Su-30SM in Russia’s inventory, according to Borisov. A multirole aircraft, the Su-30SM can be used for air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions.

About Jonathan Wade, CD 60 Articles
Jonathan is decorated former light infantryman who served more than 14 years in the Canadian Forces. Deployed to Afghanistan as part of an embedded mentoring team with the Afghan National Army, Jonathan acquired exceptional leadership skills, culture appreciation as well as a detailed comprehension of the situation on the ground. After his career as a soldier, Jonathan founded The Sentinel Analytical Group (2014-2017), and later renamed the blog to Conflict Observer. His goal is to offer an alternative to mainstream media news with detailed analysis as well as offering vital technical informations for a better comprehension of the situation. Jonathan is also the media analyst for the “Centre sur la sécurité internationale” at the Laval University, a military and strategic analyst for “La Commission Gendron” as well as a project coordinator with the NATO Association of Canada. He is now studying at the Laval University in Russian studies, Political Science, and Arab studies. Jonathan speaks French, English and Russian (elementary). He is also working on Modern Standard Arabic. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter : @JonathanWadeCD. E-mail :