How Japan’s F-15Js Squadrons Could Benefit From Exercises with India’s Top Fighter the Su-30MKI

The Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) is set to see its first simulated combat against Flanker heavyweight fighters when Su-30MKIs from the Indian Air Force fly to the country later in the year. The Flanker, which forms the backbone of the neighbouring Russian and Chinese air fleets, represents the most likely adversary Japan will face in the event of an air battle with enemy fighters. 

The Flanker first entered service in 1985 with the Soviet Air Force, and advanced derivatives in service today such as the Chinese J-16, and the Su-35 which flies for both Russia and China, are among the most capable high endurance air superiority aircraft in the world. Although the Indian Su-30MKI is considerably less capable than the latest Russian or Chinese Flanker variants, it is still the most capable fighter in Indian service and boasts very significant performance advantages over Japan’s own F-2 and F-15 fighters. 

Around 280 Su-30MKIs are currently in Indian service with more on order, and upon first entering service in 2002 they were among the world’s very first ‘4+ generation’ combat jets and were widely considered the world's foremost fighters. 

China previously acquired less capable Su-30 variants - the Su-30MKK and MK2 - with Chinese and Indian orders having provided the large majority of funding for the first 20 years of the Su-30 program as Russia itself was poorly placed to invest itself. 

The most similar fighter to the Su-30MKI Japan may face in combat is the Russian Su-30SM, which is directly derived from but newer than and superior to the Indian-operated jet and is currently being produced as the much-improved Su-30SM2. 

Corey Wallace, a teacher of East Asian security at Japan’s Kanagawa University, stated regarding the value operating with the Su-30 could have for Japan: “The value for Japan of being able to train with Indian Su-30s could be significant. The JASDF can look forward to enhancing its pilots’ understanding of the Su-30’s manoeuvrability, cruising range, fuel consumption, and turnaround times for maintenance, which could be vital for planning during a protracted conflict.” It remains uncertain whether Russia has sought to press India to refrain from such exercises, or how detailed the information India will provide on the Su-30 will be. 

The U.S. notably gained access to the older Su-27, the first Flanker variant, when it purchased two fighters from Belarus in the 1990s, and has likely shared at least some of this intelligence with Japan. The Su-30MKI, however, has a performance much more similar to the modern Flanker variants fielded by Japan’s neighbours. 

Post a Comment

If you have any doubt comment me.

Previous Post Next Post