Multirole fighters purchased in a 2003 deal through Russia's Rosoboronexport agency

China earlier this month took delivery of its first of 24 Sukhoi Su-30MK2 two-seat multirole fighters, acquired under a 2003 deal with Russia's Rosoboronexport state armaments agency.

The Su-30MK2 is a further development of China's customised Su-30MKK fighter, and provides an enhanced ground-attack capability. The aircraft is capable of carrying precision-guided munitions such as the Kh-31A anti-radiation and Kh-29T/TE/L air-to-surface missiles, KAB-500KR/1500KR guided bombs, and R-73, R-27 and RVV-AE air-to-air missiles.

The new aircraft can also carry the Russian Kh-31A anti-ship missile, which will also be integrated with the Chinese navy's Su-30MK3 fighters. Optimised for anti-ship operations, the Su-30MK3 will be delivered to China's naval aviation units from 2005.

Shown for the first time at the MAKS2003 Moscow air show last year, the Su-30MK2 uses a new version of the Tikhomirov NIIP N-001VE radar, which is believed to offer an expanded simultaneous capability against several airborne targets, and offers a ground-mapping capability.

China has imported around 80 Su-27SK/UBK fighter/trainers from Russia, as well as over 70 Su-30MKK multirole fighters under acquisitions worth $6-7 billion. The country is also building a further 200 Su-27SKs under a licence agreement worth another $2.5 billion.

The locally built aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 29,000kg (64,000lb), against the Su-30MKK's 38,000kg, and lacks a ground-attack capability. These could be upgraded later, however.

Source: Flight International