-Aman Routray and Subodh Sharma
The Su-30 MKI of Indian airforce is slated to receive a comprehensive upgrade under “Super Sukhoi” program. This upgrade will ensure a complete electronic overhaul, resulting a “Super Flanker” with spectra like electronic warfare suite. Though some of the components will be podded but functionally the fighter jet will be in same league.
The Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) is one of the most important sensors in a modern-day fighter jet. A “Next Generation” Electronic Warfare (EW) suite will require a “Next Generation RWR”. In the case of Super Sukhoi, the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) has solved this riddle for the Indian Airforce. We at Alpha Defense can exclusively confirm, “DRDL has developed the next generation RWR for Su30 MKI”.
Super Sukhoi Next Generation RWR:
The Next Generation RWR developed by DRDL is a significant improvement over existing DR118 RWR of Su 30 MKI. The RWR development by DRDO is a substantial journey. Over the years, several Radar Warning Receivers and Electronic Warfare Systems such as TEMPEST, TARANG and RWR-118 have been developed indigenously and inducted successfully by the IAF.
Super Sukhoi Development Plan and Timeline:
The idea is to integrate this Gen Next RWR on a Su30 MKI of the Indian airforce and complete the certification process in a year’s time. The development will involve DRDL as a developer of this next Generation RWR. The Indian airforce as a user and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as an organization responsible for modifying the Su 30 MKI for the Integration.
This complete activity will be performed in three phases.
- Phase 1: This will involve DRDL, Airforce, and HAL to jointly work and create an integration layout for this integration project. During this phase, a mechanical mock-up of wideband receiver units will be created. These mock-ups will be placed on Su30 MKI of the Indian airforce by removing the existing RWR receivers. In addition, a feasibility study on the electrical systems will be done.
- Phase 2: In this phase, Aircraft Upgrade Research and Design Centre (AURDC) will be developing the mod-kit. This mod-kit will be used to integrate the actual system on the Su 30 MKI and interface the same using the electrical connectors with Su 30.
- Phase 3: During this phase, the aircraft with this improved RWR will be tested for various scenarios. Once the users are satisfied with the performance of the system, it will be certified and rolled out for other fighter jets in the inventory.
Desi Spectra in Making?
The electronic warfare suite of Dassault Rafale, “Spectra” is a very capable and respected system. It provides a long-range detection, identification, and accurate localization of infrared homing, radiofrequency, and laser threats. It incorporates a radar warning receiver, laser warning, and Missile Approach Warning for threat detection plus a phased array radar jammer and a decoy dispenser for threat countering.
Currently, Su30 MKI has an analog RWR as TARANG. While EW suite is a variant of the Russian-produced KNIRTI SAP-518 wingtip-pod-mounted system, which can be augmented by the SAP-14 centreline stand-off jamming module. The aircraft does not have a missile approach warning system.
The earlier attempt to equip the Su30 MKI with a Dual Colour Missile Approach Warning System (DC-MAWS) was failed disastrously. In December 2008, Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) signed a contract with Elisra (now owned by Elbit Systems) for the joint development of the DC-MAWS suite. However, DARE found the infra-red sensors submitted by Elisra to be heavier and bigger in dimension (24cm in height and 4kg in weight) and hence, in May 2009 informed Elisra that the sensors might not be accepted for fitment on the Su-30MKIs.
The other problem was the Installation of six infrared sensors on a Su-30MKI was not cleared in December 2012 by an Expert Committee (EC) at locations specified by DARE, as it would involve cutting the aircraft’s internal structure.
Currently, DRDO has pod-based Jammer and DC-MAWS for the Su30 MKI of the Indian airforce. This combo will provide this aircraft significant electronic warfare capabilities. Though a modified D-29 System developed for Mig 29 UPG is also an option. D-29 is an integrated EW system for Radar warning and jamming that encompasses RWR, ECM, ESM functions and utilizes state-of-the-art active phased arrays for selectively jamming the multiple threat radars. The D-29 system serves primarily as a self-protection jammer that will boost survivability, enhance situation awareness, and increase mission effectiveness.
Why this is crucial?
Click here to know why Super Sukhoi is an ideal approach.