TASS Russian News Agency, 7 June 2017
MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. Members of the Russian Knights aerobatic team has for the first time practiced aerial refueling of the advanced multipurpose Su-30SM fighter jets, the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service said.
“Flights of the advanced aircraft, which involved aerial refueling, took place at the Lipetsk air facility of the Aerospace Forces. For the first time, crews of the Russian Knights aerobatic team performed this activity using the multipurpose Su-30SM fighter jets,” the ministry said in a statement.
The flights took place in daylight and at night. “The aerial refueling was carried out at altitudes of over 4,000 meters, at the speed of 550-600 kilometers per hour and at a distance of less than 20 meters between the fighter jets and the Il-78 aerial refuelling tankers. In total, the training involved three airfields and about 20 crews,” the Defense Ministry said.
The Su-30SM multirole fighter (SM stands for serial and modernized) (NATO reporting name: Flanker-H) is designed both to gain air superiority and engage ground and surface targets. The aircraft design uses canard surfaces and thrust vector control (TVC) engines. These solutions give the aircraft super maneuverability. The Su-30SM is fitted with the Bars multifunctional radar control station. Its ammunition mix includes a wide range of weapons, including air-to-air missiles and precision-guided air-to-ground weapons. The Su-30SM can be used to train pilots to fly advanced single-seat aircraft. It has been produced for the Russian Air Force since 2012.