The Russian Defense Ministry has started to deploy a regiment of the Su-30SM fighter jets in the Arctic in order to create a reliable aviation shield for Russian ships and submarines in the area.
The Russian Defense Ministry has started to deploy a regiment of the newest Su-30SM fighter jets in the Arctic, the Izvestiya newspaper reported, citing unnamed informed sources in the military department and aviation industry.
Reportedly, the main task of the fighter jets, which will be a part of the marine aviation of the Northern Fleet and will base at the Severomorsk-3 airfield, will be to cover the Barents Sea from enemy warplanes, combat drones, cruise missiles, and warships. According to experts, Russian ships and submarines in the Barents Sea were vulnerable without a reliable aviation shield, and the deployment of the Su-30SMs will completely solve this problem.
According to the newspaper, the first two Su-30SMs will arrive to the Severomorsk-3 airfield in the near future. The newly arrived fighter jets will become a part of the 3rd Squadron of the 279th separate naval fighter air regiment of the marine aviation of the Northern Fleet. Subsequently, a separate aviation regiment will be formed of other newest aircraft.
The Su-30SM two-seat multifunctional supermaneuverable fighter aircraft, equipped with variable thrust vector engines, was passed into service in the Russian Defense Ministry in 2012. As of today, the Russian Aerospace Forces and the marine aviation have received about 60 new fighter jets from 116, which should be supplied according to a contract. The Su-30s, based at the Hmeymim airbase, take an active part in the Syrian operation, escorting tactical and strategic bombers. Weighing about 25 tons, the aircraft is capable of carrying more than 10 tons of missiles and bombs on its 12 hardpoints.
In addition to modern air-to-air missiles, the Su-30SMs will also be armed with the Kh-31 unique supersonic anti-ship missiles, which allow the fighter jets not only to defense ships of the Northern Fleet against attacks of enemy aircraft, drones and cruise missiles, but also to strike enemy vessels, position-radar stations, air defense weapons and other ground targets of an enemy.
Weighing more than 700 kg, the Kh-31 is capable to hit targets at a distance of over 200 km, reaching a speed up to 2,500 km per hour. Currently, there are two versions of the missile in service in the Russian Defense Ministry. The antiship Kh-31 can detect an enemy with miniature radar, set on its target seeking device. Even one missile is enough to send to the bottom a cruiser of the Ticonderoga-class – such guided-missile ships are currently in service in the US Navy. The confusional version of the Kh-31 is equipped with a homing device, which is capable to detect radiation of enemy position-radar stations. An explosion of the 100-kg missile warhead destroys not only radar, but the entire station, as well as military hardware, stationed near it.