Russia will finish testing the Su-30SM jet equipped with a more powerful AL-41F-1S engine derived from the Su-35 fighter in December 2023.
The increased thrust will enable the Su-30SM jet to carry more weapons or fly at a higher speed.
"Currently, special flight tests of the Su-30SM aircraft with the AL-41F-1S engine are underway (the same is the case for serial Su-35 - IF fighters). It is planned that they will be completed by December 2023," a source in the aviation industry was quoted as saying by Interfax today.
Russia is aiming at markets which already have the Su-30 aircraft in their service such as India, Indonesia and Vietnam as potential markets for the new aircraft, tentatively called the Su-30SM2.
At the Army-2020 forum, the Ministry of Defense signed a contract with United Aircraft Corporation (UAV) for the supply of modernized Su-30SM2 for the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Russian Navy. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier that the department would order 21 new-built fighters.
Combat capabilities of the modernized aircraft will be significantly expanded, including through a new range of weapons.
The Su-30SM 4+ generation aircraft have been serially supplied to the troops since 2013. The Russian military has already received more than 100 of these fighters. The AL-41F-1C (product 117C) engine was developed by the Lyulka Design Bureau (part of the United Engine Corporation). It is a modular twin-shaft by-pass turbojet engine with thrust vector control and digital complex governor. Improved engine performance is achieved through the use of a new low pressure compressor with increased air consumption and efficiency, as well as a new turbine with a more efficient blade cooling system.
The AL-41F-1S engine shoe-horning into the Su-30SM is part of the project of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) to unify its aircraft products by sharing common components.
With the future belonging to the Su-57 and Su-75 stealth fighter jets, the immediate prospects for the Su-35 is seen as bleek. In the absense of export customers, uprading the Su-30 for which there are multiple existing customers, may keep the aircraft going into the next couple of decades.