They are also looking forward to the plane’s next generation ‘Super 30’ version which will have advanced avionics. Explaining the concept of the beyond visual range (BVR) fights, senior IAF officials at a forward base close to the border with Pakistan explained that future wars are unlikely to have close combat fights like in wars in 1965 or 1971.
“Nowadays, the fighter jets are very modernised with state-of-the-art radar systems. What matters now is BVR which means that one can engage with the enemy in air without actually seeing him. Once the enemy is locked in, a BVR missile is fired,” wing commander Sharad Sharma, who has clocked more than 1000 hours on the Sukhoi, told PTI.
The BVR missiles carried by Sukhoi currently have a range of about 50-70 kms. But what will truly turn the tide is the integration of the supersonic missile BrahMos with the Sukhoi. Fighter pilots at the base, one of the newest of the Sukhoi, say that the BrahMos will be game changer.
“Imagine, one can fire a missile nearly 300 kms away from the target. Installations across the border can be targeted by our fighter jets without even crossing the border,” a senior pilot explained.
The first test, a dead weight one, of the BrahMos integrated Sukhoi is likely to take place early next month or even this month-end. The second test will be by firing a dummy missile while the third and fourth stages of testing will be with actual missile, but without the 200 kg warhead to validate the guidance system and accuracy. Two Sukhois will be used for the tests which will be completed in the next one year.