MAF Expo: The Supreme Dogfighter, The Tanker and The Growler

In many ways, comparing to other Su-27/30 operators in this region, the RMAF Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flanker is by far the most capable air combat platform of similar type ever available in this region.


True to its Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) designation, the MKM variant possesses Thrust Vectoring Control (TVC)  which gives it more edge during dogfight against hostile enemy aircraft (even against other ASEAN Flankers) such as what has been demonstrated by the Indian Air Force (IAF) during the Flag-series exercise in the United States.

lima 2009_back of Sukhoi Su_30MKM

Just like the MKI variant currently in service with the IAF, Malaysian Flankers are also able to perform air-to-air refueling, thanks to its Cobham 750 pods. Such capabilities has been demonstrated by the RMAF during the previous editions of Eks Angsa, a joint annual naval and air exercise between the RMAF and the RMN.

Nevertheless, the Malaysian Flankers had more on their sleeves other than fancy manouvers and able to assume the role as mini air tanker. They are also able to perform Supression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) and Destruction of Enemy Air Defence (DEAD) missions thanks to the recently unveiled KNIRTI SAP-518 advanced jamming pod and Kh-31P (NATO: AS-17 Krypton) Anti-radiation missile. (here)

Dubbed by several local bloggers as the Growler-ski, the Electric Flanker had made its public appearance during the MAF 80th Anniversary Grand Parade and Expo on September 21. To date, only the RAAF has similar capability in this region, thanks to its 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet (some wired to EA-18G Growler configuration) MRCA fighters.

The same blog also wrote on RMAF Mig-29N Fulcrum pilots wearing SURA Helmet Mounted Sight (HMS) on their MSA Gallet helmet which allows off-boresight capabilities to launch the Russian Vympel R-73E (NATO: AA-11 Archer) AAM missile. (here) Since RMAF Sukhoi ‘drivers’ also wore similar helmet, it is assumed that the Malaysian Flankers also possesses similar capabilities to destroy enemy threats just by looking at the target.

The RMAF has been solidifying its off-boresight capabilities not only to its Russian fighter fleet but also to its Boeing F/A-18D Hornet fighters which have/are undergo(ing) Mid-Life Upgrades that include JHMCS and new targeting pod.

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