RUS­SIAN KNIGHTS BACK WITH A BANG

New Straits Times - - Letters - HANI SHAMIRA SHAHRUDIN LANGKAWI shamira@nst.com.my »

OVER the past few days, res­i­dents and tourists would have seen four dis­tinc­tively-liv­er­ied, sleek air­craft scream­ing across the skies and fly­ing for­ma­tions and deathde­fy­ing stunts.

Those who were here in 2013 would prob­a­bly recog­nise the blue-white-an­dred of one of the world’s most fa­mous aer­o­bat­ics teams.

Yes, the Rus­sian Knights are back with a bang at the Langkawi In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime and Aero­space ex­hi­bi­tion (Lima).

It isn’t the fa­mil­iar SU-27 Flankers they are fly­ing this time. The Knights are de­but­ing their new air­craft, the lat­est edi­tion of the Flanker fam­ily, the SU-30SM, des­ig­nated Flanker-C by the North At­lantic Treaty Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The team, which has par­tic­i­pated in hun­dreds of air­shows since its for­ma­tion in 1991, re­ceived eight of the air­craft in Septem­ber and be­gan train­ing in De­cem­ber.

The Su-30SM fight­ers were man­u­fac­tured and de­liv­ered to the team by Irkut Cor­po­ra­tion.

The Knights had opted for the SU30SM af­ter test flights in 2013, due to From Page 32

On static dis­play, how­ever, vis­i­tors can see all of the above, plus a few more from the civil­ian side of the aero­space in­dus­try. High­lights in­clude the Fire and Rescue Depart­ment’s Mi-17 and AW139 he­li­copters, US Navy’s F/A18E/F Su­per Hor­net, P-8 Po­sei­don and MH-60 Sea­hawk, a Rus­sian Air Force IL-76, USAF KC-135 Stra­totanker and Sin­ga­pore Air Force’s F-15SG Ea­gle and AH-64 Apache.

Not to be left out is the mar­itime seg­ment of Lima, which this time re­verts to

A Rus­sian Knights air­craft tak­ing off.

its “su­per­ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity”, mak­ing it pos­si­ble for pi­lots to mas­ter new fig­ures for aer­o­bat­ics deemed too risky for other air­craft. This is mainly due to the air­craft’s thrust vec­tor con­trol and ad­vanced con­trol sys­tems.

Rus­sian test pi­lot Vyacheslav Averyanov said the su­per agility also could pro­vide su­pe­ri­or­ity in short-range dog­fights as it let a pi­lot use his ar­ma­ments in quicker fash­ion.

“A fighter should have the abil­ity to con­duct long-range and short-range dog­fights. If you are weak in one of the ways of dog­fight­ing, your en­emy will de­feat you,” he said. the orig­i­nal for­mat of be­ing sep­a­rated from the aero­space ex­hi­bi­tion cen­tre.

As al­ways, the bulk of the ships on view will be from RMN, led by one of its two Scor­pene sub­marines. This time, it is the turn of KD ‘Tun Razak’.

Mak­ing its de­but will be the RMN’s new train­ing ship ‘Ga­gah Sa­mud­era’, only re­cently com­mis­sioned. It will be joined by the train­ing ship KLD ‘Tu­nas Sa­mud­era’, a sail­ing ship.

Also in the mix are KD ‘In­derasakti’, KD ‘Je­bat’, KD ‘Kas­turi’, KD ‘Lekir’, KD ‘Se­lan­gor’, KD ‘Per­an­tau’, KD ‘Mu­tiara’,

Averyanov, who also mas­tered new flight modes on the SU-30MKI, the ver­sion of the SU-30MK fam­ily used by In­dia, said the per­for­mance of the SU30SM would be fa­mil­iar in Malaysia.

This is be­cause the Royal Malaysian Air Force op­er­ates the SU-30MKM.

He said the fea­tures of both air­craft were prac­ti­cally iden­ti­cal, the dif­fer­ence com­ing only in terms of avion­ics.

Averyanov said the agility of the SU-30 fam­ily of air­craft was not the only ad­van­tage of the Flankers.

All ver­sions, he said, were equipped with on-board radars with a phased ar­ray an­ten­nas, guar­an­tee­ing the de­struc­tion of air, ground and sur­face sis­ter ships KD ‘Lak­saman Tun Ab­dul Jamil’ and KD ‘Lak­samana Hang Nadim’, KD ‘Per­dana’, KD ‘Gem­pita’, KD ‘Kin­a­balu’, KD ‘Ma­hameru’ and MV ‘Mega Bakti’.

MMEA, mean­while, will have five ves­sels on show, in­clud­ing its lat­est ves­sel, the new gen­er­a­tion pa­trol craft KM ‘Ba­gan Datuk’, which it of­fi­cially re­ceived on Wed­nes­day. The oth­ers are KM ‘Mar­lin’, KM ‘Per­wira’, KM ‘Pekan ‘and KM ‘Sugut’.

Other Malaysian agen­cies tak­ing part are the ma­rine po­lice, Ma­rine Rus­sian Aero­space Forces com­man­der-in-chief Colonel-Gen­eral Vic­tor Bon­darev and Irkut pres­i­dent Oleg Dem­chenko meet­ing Rus­sian Knights pi­lots at the cer­e­mony to hand over the new SU-30SM air­craft last year.

tar­gets lo­cated be­yond the lim­its of the hu­man eye.

Averyanov said he and the Rus­sian Knights pi­lots con­sider the SU-30SM’s two-seat con­fig­u­ra­tion an ad­van­tage since it pro­vided bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion in group fly­ing and sim­pli­fied the com­mis­sion­ing of young pi­lots.

“In any case, two chaps per­form­ing their mis­sion (are) bet­ter than one,” he said.

He said the SU-30MK/SM fam­ily of air­craft was also a favourite of large coun­tries and those with large coastal ar­eas, due to its abil­ity to con­duct lon­grange Depart­ment and Univer­siti Malaysia Tereng­ganu, which will have its RV ‘Dis­cov­ery’, a coastal re­search ves­sel, an­chored off Tan­jung Malai.

Var­i­ous navies are also send­ing ships for the mar­itime seg­ment. There are two ships each from the Pakistan and In­done­sian navies, and a ship each from the In­dian, Ital­ian, Aus­tralian, Sin­ga­pore, Thai, US, Philip­pine and Viet­nam navies as well as one from the Ja­panese Mar­itime Self-De­fence Force.

The mar­itime seg­ment will also have smaller craft on show, in­clud­ing a fast

sor­ties.

“(This made it) quite log­i­cal that it was the Rus­sian Navy’s op­tion,” he said.

The SU-30SM is the only new fighter or­dered by the Rus­sian Navy, which be­gan re­ceiv­ing them in 2014. Large num­bers of the air­craft have also been de­liv­ered to the Rus­sian Aero­space Forces.

The to­tal or­der from the Rus­sian De­fence Min­istry for SU-30SM stands at 110 air­craft, with more than half that num­ber sup­plied.

Since 2015, Irkut has also been sup­ply­ing the Kazakh Air Force with SU-30SM air­craft. in­ter­cep­tor craft from Muhib­bah En­gi­neer­ing, and a sea plane, the uniquelook­ing Wing-in-Ground ground ef­fect ve­hi­cle called Air­fish 8.

One of the main high­lights of Lima 2017, how­ever, will be the dis­play of un­manned ve­hi­cles. Among these are the USAF’s MQ-1 Preda­tor un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle (UAV), MMEA’s Ful­mar UAV, Skyeton Air­craft’s ACS 30 UAV, MAST’s Tele­dyne au­tonomous un­der­wa­ter ve­hi­cle and Saab’s Sea­eye re­motely-op­er­ated ve­hi­cle for un­der­wa­ter op­er­a­tions.

Rus­sian Knights train­ing on a new flight demon­stra­tion pro­gramme for Lima 2017.

The Rus­sian Knights aer­o­bat­ics team’s new SU-30SM air­craft, decked out in the colours of the Rus­sian flag.

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