The Japanese air force is eager to exercise against India’s Su-30MKI, to let Japanese pilots know the capabilities of the Russian-origin Su-30 fighter, which is currently the main fighter in the Chinese Air Force.
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force, which is actively preparing for joint training activities with the Indian Air Force in the coming months, will involve combat aircraft units from both sides, including the 6 most powerful fighters of the Indian Air Force, the Su-30MKI.
During the first ‘2+2’ meeting involving the foreign and defence ministers of India and Japan in late 2019, the two nations agreed to hold a military exercise involving their fighter aircraft.
It would have been the first such training venture between the two countries, which have held drills involving warships, land-based forces and transport aircraft of their air forces. The fighter exercise, proposed to be held in mid-2020, would have involved the Indian Air Force deploying its Russian-designed Su-30MKI fighters to the Komatsu airbase to train with the US-designed F-15J fighters operated by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
For the Japanese Air Force units, the opportunity to train against the Su-30 is highly appreciated, as it provides perhaps the closest simulation of the capabilities of the Chinese air force. Japan has to face the J-16 if there will be a conflict between the two countries and Japan can’t afford to lose from China.
Su-30MKI is a 4+ generation aircraft; This is an improved version of the Soviet Union’s leading air superiority fighter, the Su-27 Flanker, developed by Russia specifically for India. The Su-30MKI has been in service with the Indian Air Force (IAF) since 2002.
Su-27 Flanker variants are also the backbone of the PLA Air Force; however, the Chinese versions of the Su-30MKK and Su-30MK2, are considered less modern than the Indian version of the MKI.