Irkutsk Aircraft Production Organisation (IAPO) is accelerating work on the Stage II upgrade of Sukhoi Su-27UB and Su-30 twin-seat fighters and intends to begin flight testing later this year following Russian air force support for the first phase of the programme.

Work on the project began in 1999 as an IAPO initiative, but it now includes Sukhoi, Aerospace Equipment and defence ministry research institutes.

The initial upgrades toSu-30KNand Su-27UBM standard include a radar processing upgrade which provides a synthetic aperture ground mapping capability and the detection of moving ground targets.

A cathode ray tube in the front and rear Su-30 cockpit is replaced with 130mm x 130mm (5in x 5in) liquid crystal multifunction displays.

The upgraded fighter can carry the Zvezda Kh-31A and Kh-31P (AS-17 Krypton) and Molniya Kh-29T (AS-14 Kedge) air-to-surface missiles and KAB-500 guided bombs. It also adds the VympelR-77/RVV-AE (AA-12 Adder) air-to-air missile.

Stage II further enhances air-to-air capability by replacing the RLPK-27's flat-plate slotted array antenna with a phased array with digital beam control. The upgraded radar has 50% greater acquisition range, while providing track-while-scan and multi-target capability. The new "Pero" antenna was developed from the RSKMiG-31 Foxhound's Zaslon radar.

Stage II aircraft will also have a glass cockpit with hands-on-throttle-and-stick controls and three 150mm x 200mm MFDs and two 130mm² LCDs. The LII flight test and research institute is evaluating new crew stations.

IAPO has started to convert a Su-30 into Su-30KN Stage II configuration, aiming for a first flight in the third quarter. A full-size mock-up will be displayed at the Moscow air show in August.

Source: Flight International