Indian Airforce SU-30 MKI v/s. Pakistan Airforce F-16
Su-30MKI is a long-range, high-endurance, heavy-class Air Dominance Fighter with multi mission capabilities. It is currently the most advanced version of Su-27 Flanker flying anywhere in the world. The Su-27, which was first produced in the Former Soviet Union starting 1982 is counted among the world’s best fighter aircraft even without any upgrades; but some of the technology and capability that the Su-30MKI boasts has absolutely no parallels across the world’s air forces. The Su-30MKI gives its operator, the Indian Air Force, a capability that will remain unmatched by all rivals for the foreseeable future.
The Sukhoi-30 MKI mounts a Vympel R-77M BVR AAM missile and aNIIP NO11M Bars (Panther) integrated radar sighting system. The Russian origin plane is capable of performing all tactical tasks of the Su-24 Fencer deep interdiction tactical bomber and the Su-27 Flanker A/B/C air superiority fighter while having around twice the combat range and atleast 2.5 times the combat effectiveness.
To speak in very light note SU-30 is a Long Range Air Dominance Multi-role Combat Aircraft where as the Rafale are Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). India keeping in mind the two fronted war(Pakistan and China) needs a fleet of fighter which can dominate the air completely(SU-30 MKI) and also undertake the ground defence system of enemy and give support to the Air dominance Fleet(RAFALE from France). India need SU-30 MKI for different purpose and Rafale for different purpose.
F-16 Block 52 Aircraft Backgrounds
The F-16 was made by the American company “General Dynamics”, and first entered service with the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1978. It is described as an all-weather Multi Role Fighter (MRF) and one of the most successful modern aircraft designs as eventually over 4,500 were built and went into service into more than 26 countries worldwide.
The F-16C Block 50/52+ is the latest mass produced version of the aircraft first introduced into service in 2006 with a dorsal compartment for the 2-seat versions, conformal fuel tanks, advanced avionics like better radar and helmet mounted sight, and a more powerful engine.
F-16 vs Sukhoi-30MKI
The Su-30MKI’s structural and aerodynamic configuration incorporates the latest research and technological achievements.. The F-16 and F-18 designs were developed in the early and mid-1970s. In terms of maximum aerodynamic efficiency, the Su-30MKI, like all Su-27-family aircraft, is unparalleled in the world and outperforms the above foreign counterparts by at least 50 to 100 percent. This is why the latest modernization programs, which gave birth to the F-16C Block 60 and F-18E/F versions, involved the increase of wing span, fuselage length and control surface areas and significantly changed the structural configuration and general layout of their basic versions.
In terms of conventional manoeuvrability characteristics, all these fighters are very similar. However, according to preliminary assessments, the Su-30MKI’s supermaneuverability gives it a 30-percent superiority over its competitors in close air combat. Aircraft multiple capabilities put into the forefront the problem of effective weapon employment. To solve this problem, the Su-30MKI has a copilot/operator to improve the crew’s performance, weapon employment efficiency and provide for group missions.
In terms of target designation angles, maneuverability, etc., the R-73E close-range air-to-air missile in service with the Su-30MKI significantly outperforms similar foreign missiles and is rightly considered the world’s best in its class. The high energy and ballistic parameters of the Su-30MKI’s long-range air-to-air missiles, combined with the capability of its radar, allow it to deliver preventive strikes against aerial targets, including its potential rivals.
Fitted with 12 weapon stores, carrying a full complement of air-to-air missiles and featuring a multichannel target engagement capability, the Su-30MKI fighter can be effectively used to repulse a massive air raid.
The Su-30MKI has a twofold advantage over the F-16 aircraft in the number of simultaneously carried air-to-ground guided weapons, which are also more efficient. High-power guided weapons carried by the Su-30MKI enable it to defeat deeply buried, hardened and superhardened priority targets.
Another distinguishing feature of the Su-30MKI is its high versatility. It can be used as an air defense interceptor, a strike aircraft or a flying command post. It can be used as a leader aircraft of combined fighter groups (including those of light fighters), ensuring their cooperation and concentration of efforts.
The AN/APG-68 radar is a long range up to 300 km and a Pulse-doppler radar designed by Westinghouse (now Northrop Grumman) to replace AN/APG-66 radar in the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The AN/APG-68 radar system consists of the following line-replaceable units:Antenna,Dual Mode Transmitter (DMT),Modular Low-power radio frequency (MLPRF),Programmable signal processor (PSP)
The AN/APG-68(V)9 radar is the latest development. Besides the increase in scan range compared to the previous version, it has a Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) capability.
The forward facing NIIP N011M Bars (Panther) is a powerful integrated passive electronically scanned array radar. The N011M is a digital multi-mode dual frequency band radar.The N011M can function in air-to-air and air-to-land/sea mode simultaneously while being tied into a high-precision laser-inertial or GPS navigation system. It is equipped with a modern digital weapons control system as well as anti-jamming features. N011M has a 350 km search range and a maximum 200 km tracking range, and 60 km in the rear hemisphere. The radar can track 15 air targets and engage 4 simultaneously. These targets can even include cruise missiles and motionless helicopters. The Su-30MKI can function as a mini-AWACS as a director or command post for other aircraft. The target co-ordinates can be transferred automatically to at least four other aircraft. The radar can detect ground targets such as tanks at 40–50 km.
Air Combat-related Avionics and Weapons
Here I am comparing the capability of both aircrafts in terms of Within Visual Range (WVR) and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air combat thru their Avionics and Weapons available to them
– WVR COMBAT: Pretty even as both aircrafts have the avionics and weapons to be competitive in WVR combat
– BVR COMBAT: The F-16C’s RCS is lower than the Sukhoi-30MKI by 733%, but the latter’s more powerful radar still enables it to detect the F-16C 7% or 8 km sooner. The SU-30MKI also has the advantage of an IRST sensor which is useful in certain tactical situations.
SU-30 MKI has the “first-look, first-shot” advantage by about 10 seconds (based on its 8 km radar advantage and assuming that both aircrafts are closing in on each other at the combined speed of 3,000 kph).
Both fighters are very Agile and Excellent Dog-fighters .
While F-16 is very much Lighter and has better Speed , Su-30MKI is equipped with TVC (Thrust-Vectoring Control )engines which means its ITR (Instantaneous Turn Rate ) can be EXTREME !! Superior Agility and Aerodynamic performance of SU-30MKI easily compensates for its Bigger size than F-16 .
In a typical scenario, one-on-one, the Su-30MKI would unleash its BVR missiles first; having spotted the F-16.
F-16 Block 70/72 is the latest version of F-16 . However , Pakistan’s request to buy 8 more F-16s was recently declined by US ,so probability of Pakistan using latest F-16 Block 70 in future is very low !
On the other hand , US is very much interested in selling F-16 Block 70/72 to India and currently India is reviewing that proposal and in future we can hear some more updates in this regard .
SU-30MKI will be upgraded to ‘Super Sukhoi’ standard which will be much more advanced than the current Su-30MKI version will capable of Carrying Nuclear Bomb and Brahmos Missile .The specifications of ‘Super Sukhoi’ are still in negotiation phase ongoing between India & Russia .
A BRUSH WITH THE ENEMY ::
During Kargil War, IAF MiG-29s of 47 (Black Archers) Squadron tracked two PAF F-16s close to Indian air space.
The MiG-29s with long-range BVRs (beyond visual range) were able to lock on to the Pakistani F-16s which lacked BVR capability.
The planes weren’t brought down because they were still flying on their side of the border.
The Pakistani F-16s eventually backed down and returned to their base and did not dare confront IAF’s Mig-29s.