The Russian air force received its first two Su-30SM fighters on Nov. 22, domestic variants of the export best seller Su-30MKI.

Thirty aircraft were ordered in March 2012. Deliveries to the military will continue in 2013 and last through 2015.

The Su-30MKI multirole fighter is one of the most advanced combat aircraft being manufactured in Russia. It was designed on the basis of the heavily upgraded Su-30 two-seat fighter crafted for the Indian air force at the end of the 1990s. Upgrades included thrust vector control engines, canards, passive phased array radar and non-Russian avionics

India has already ordered 230 fighters of this type both through direct purchases and under licensed production. Su-30MKIs are also being operated by the air forces of Malaysia and Algeria.

According to manufacturer Irkut, a subsidiary of Russia’s United Aircraft, the Su-30SM was adapted under the requirements of the Russian air force and features new radar, communication and friend-or-foe identification systems and catapult seats. The aircraft also can use new types of air-launched weapons.

The air force has also ordered four similar but less sophisticated, two-seat Su-30M2 fighters that are based on the Su-30MK2 variant designed by Sukhoi for export to China and Indonesia. The first two aircraft of this type were reportedly delivered in 2011 to be used to train pilots for single-seat Su-35s. The latter are expected to enter the service this year.

Su-35 photo: Sukhoi