Discussion on the Su-30MKI. These were version five airplanes, they had vectored thrust, canards, all the advanced weapons the Russians build, including the AMRAAMSKI, and there (Archer?) there IR missile, which has a 30 mile range on it. Nothing classified, all can be found in Janes... etc...
The Sukhoi engines (i believe he called them Tumansky? ) are very vulnerable to FOD. The Indians asked for a 1 minute spacing between take offs - with nearly 50-60 aircraft supposed to take of, if you have one person who will wait one minute between each take off to launch these six aircraft... yeah.... right, they can go find some other place to fly. So we trained with them, worked with them, and got them to shorten that down to 45 seconds, still not acceptable. But what we did was launch their aircraft ahead, since they had enough gas fuel, they would go and wait orbit ahead and the rest would join up. They were very concerned about fod and how Russian engines are not nearly as reliable as Americans. One of the things the Indians were very disapointed in, if an engine breaks down, they make them send the engine back to Russia, then you'll send you back a new one.
There's a great video on youtube, where somebody shows the F-22 flying its demo, and the Su-30MKI, side by side, and he does the exact same domonstration, as the F-22. And an airshow, then can do the same demonstration. The reality is, that's about as close as the airplanes ever get. When you compare it with out airplanes, the F-16 and F-15, it's a tad bit better than we are. And that's pretty impressive, it has better radar, more thrust, vectored thrust, longer ranged weapons, so it's pretty impressive. The Sukhoi is a tad bit better (holds arm at chest level, and the other arm signifying the Sukhoi a wee bit higher). But now compare with the F-22 Raptor, the raptor is here. (holds palm way above his head - signifying that the aircraft is much better). OK, next.
Now coming to the aircombat. You know the story of Cope India and how our F-15s went there for the exercise at the Indian Nellis. Our aircraft were a regular unit while they had the most experienced pilots on the Sukhoi-30s there. Ours were a mix of 80-20 - 80 percent with low experience, less than 500 hours on the F-15, the remaining 20 were fairly experienced but they came back from a staff appointment so they really hadn't had a lot of time flying. Anyway at Cope India, we held our own, but the Indians went to town thumping their chests - they said we (IAF) shot them down more times than they shot us down - which was true.
Now here at Mountain Home, the Sukhoi unit that they sent was a regular operational unit - had a mix of 50-50 (experienced and inexperienced). They had come off MiG-21s.. Well what happened was after the first two to three days of operations, you know exchanging patches and all, we went up in 1 vs 1 combat. The Indian pilots came from MiG-21 Bison units. the MiG-21 bison, as you know is based on the Mig from the Vietnam war era, but upgraded with an Israeli radar, Israeli jammer, active homing missile etc. the small RCS of the MiG-21 with the Israeli jammer would make them invisible to radar... mean they could close in on our legacy fighters (F-15 and F-16) and engage in aircombat. Remember back in 4477th... Mig-21 had ability to get into the fight, 110 knots, 60 degrees nose high, 10,000 feet to 20,000 feet, very maneuverable airplane, but it didn't have any good weapons. Now it has high off bore sight, helmet, jammer, good radar, and the archer, so that's the plane the SU-30 experianced pilots came out of.
So we get them to Mountain Home... amazingly, we dominated. Not with a clean F-15, we dominated with an F-15 in wartime configuration, I mean, 4 missile onboard, wingtanks, and they're sitting there in there Su-30s with ACMI pods. Floored to the point after the first 3 days, they didn't want any more 1 vs 1 stuff. Funny 'cause in India, they only wanted 1 vs 1 - cause they were winning.
The Sukhoi has TVC in a V (OFF AXIS 2D TVC... SEMI 3D TVC) . The TVC would kick in and push the aircraft the direction when the pilot engages the switch on the stick. All this is formidable on paper but what you would know is that with the TVC kicking in, its a huge aircraft, and thrusting such a huge aircraft in that direction creates a lot of drag. It's a biiig airplane. A huge airplane. We had enough experience with the F-22. which has up/down TVC nozzles.
What would happen is that the in a merge with the F-22... From our experience, that's the only way you would get the F-22. and the only way - this happens only if there is an inexperienced pilot because the experienced ones never make the mistake. You would be pulling in scissor fight hoping you would get the F-22 in your sights (laughs ). The F22 can sustain a turn rate of 28 deg per second at 20,000 feet while the F-15 can get an instantaneous rate of 21 and a sustained rate of 15-16. So you are pulling and hoping. Post stall, maneuver, the ass end drops and instead of going up, it just drops in mid air. This is where the F-15 pilot would pull up vertical, switch to guns, then come down and take a shot at the F-22. Of course you have to first get in close to do this, most probably the F-22 will kill you before that.
The Su-30? No problem. Big aircraft. Big cross section. Jamming to get to the merge, so you have to fight close... he has 22 - 23 degrees per second sustained turn rate. We've been fighting the Raptor, so we've been going oh dude, this is easy. So as we're fighting him, all of a sudden you'd see the ass end kick down, going post stall - but now he starts falling from the sky. The F-15 wouldn't even have to pull up. slight pull up on the stick, engage guns, come down and drill his brains out.
The Indians were astonished. We were amazed. After three to four days of `1vs1, they said, okay we had enough of this lets get back to the regular operations. While at Cope India , all the Indians wanted to do was just 1 vs 1
While on paper, he has vectored thrust, all these great weapons and everything, he looks the same as a Raptor, he's no where near the same. So that was a really good thing for us to find out, that we really didn't know until this last excercise. Now, what I'm scared of, is congress is going to hear that and go 'great we don't need to buy any more airplanes... no no no, we used to be way ahead of them, now they're right up close to us and just a little bit higher. I say that they're just alittle bit better than us, is because when there pilots learn how to fly, they'll be abled to beat the F-16 and F-15, on a regular basis. Right now, they use TVC and just go into post stall.... so it's only a matter of time before they learn.
The french usually came with Mirage 2000 dash 5, one of there older airplanes, but the moment they knew the Indians were getting the Sukhois they decided to send the Rafales. their latest, advanced jet. 90% of the time, they followed the Indians in, but they never really came into the merge. Like in Iraq and Afghanastan, they would do local flights and say we participated, but what they were really doing is just sniffing electronically and finding out how our radars work. And that's really all they did out here.
One thing about the IAF - they were a professional lot and they were very strict about the rules of the flying area. During their stay they made zero mistakes -/ errors about the flying area and that was incredible. We had other expectations but they were quite good. And they're learning... The IAF was also very serious about another thing.
They killed a lot of friendlies. You know what was happening is that they didn't have the datalink with the Awacs. Big internet data links. Russian made data links no computer link - the Koreans, the French and us could see the complete picture on the HUD, but the IAF had to ask the AWACS. they would ask about a target ahead, "Contact on my nose 22 miles, friendly or hostile?" Awacs would say "No hostile within 40 miles of you" then "Fox2." (laughs/audience laughs) The first two days they got hit bad, they were getting shot down while waiting for answers so they decided to kill the other guy fast without knowing.. better you die than me. But they took the fratricides very seriously. They did not have combat I.D capability.
The Koreans bought in their brand new F-15Ks. beautiful aircraft, with AESA radar and all like on the F-22. Had Isreali targetting and jamming pods on them. Incredible airplanes. Very professional also. But they had less than 50 hours on it and none on the airplane, they were still learning the aircraft. so it did not have any significant impact.
So while Nellis is about training with people who we will go to war with, Red Flag Alaska (PACOM??): This is different from Red Flag Nellis. This where we exercise for friendship building. Most countries that fly there are in a conflict with each other. The Indians really wanted to participate in Red Flag Nellis, so they could mix right in and be a part of the coalition, and they learned, in a big way, that, that, wouldn't happen.
Was the AESA radar in the Indian...? Well the Indian is PESA which is not active but passive, as apposed to AESA. Huge diferance, the AESA pings more, and sees more, and is more accurate, than just a passively scanned radar. PESA is good but ends up having more technical problems descriminating, and finding the right guy.
Some guy said F-15 was last dogfighting airplane, he discounted the fact the F-22 was really good...? I think the Raptor is the next great dogfighter we have. Reason is, electronic jamming, and not only electronic jamming, but we don't carry enough missiles. We're going to have to go in with guns. Gonna happen and thank god the Raptor still has a gun on it. It's fast, maneuverable, .... and the Block 50 (and 52 EHRM P&W FTW), is pretty good also, so these aircraft, the F-15, Block 50 F-16, and the Raptor, are still very capable aircraft, because when the Bison that gets in unseen with the small RCS and jammer.... going to need maneuverability.
What about the F-35? Let's save that for another discussion. We do too much work on it at this moment, but we'll save that for another time.
I hope our Su30 pilots meet this guy next time and just calmly ask him, any more new ideas to DRILL our brains out please feel free to share with us.