PICTURES: Irkut launches Su-30SM test campaign

Moscow
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Russia's Sukhoi Su-30SM multirole fighter performed its maiden flight on 21 September, with Sukhoi test pilots Sergei Kostin and Pavel Malovechko at the controls.

Described as "flawless", the 2h sortie originated from the aerodrome of the IAZ plant near Irkutsk; the main manufacturing site for the Irkut Corporation.

 

Irkut

A further evolution of the Su-30MK line and designed for use by domestic units, the SM differs from earlier export models in having radar, communications and friend-or-foe systems and other onboard equipment, including new ejection seats "designed in accordance with the requirements of the Russian air force", Irkut says.

 

Irkut

The new model will also be able to carry advanced weapons, including the Onix supersonic anti-ship and land attack missile - an all-Russian version of the BrahMos weapon being jointly developed with India.

Irkut received a contract in March 2012 to deliver 30 Su-30SMs to the Russian air force by 2015. The first examples are due to be handed over late this year.