Difference Between Indian Air Force Sukhoi-30MKI vs Rafale

Difference Between Indian Air Force Sukhoi-30MKI vs Rafale
26-July 2023...........

The Indian Air Force (IAF) operates both the Sukhoi Su-30MKI and the Dassault Rafale in its fleet. The Su-30MKI is a twin-engine, multirole fighter aircraft developed by Russia's Sukhoi Corporation and is manufactured under license by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in India. On the other hand, the Rafale is a twin-engine, multirole fighter aircraft developed and manufactured by the French company Dassault Aviation. The Russian term “MKI” in “Sukhoi Su-30MKI” refers to Modernizirovannyi Kommercheskiy Indiski - "Modernized Commercial Indian," which is an export version for India, jointly developed with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).


Design and Role:  

- Su-30MKI: The Su-30MKI is primarily an air superiority fighter but has also been adapted for various roles, including air-to-ground and maritime strike missions. It has a larger airframe and is designed for long-range missions and heavy payloads.


- Rafale: The Rafale is a versatile fighter capable of performing a wide range of missions, including air superiority, ground attack, reconnaissance, and nuclear deterrence. It is known for its advanced avionics and sensor suite, making it a highly capable multirole aircraft.



- Su-30MKI: The Su-30MKI can carry a wide array of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, rockets, bombs, and even anti-ship missiles, giving it considerable firepower.


- Rafale: The Rafale is equipped with advanced weaponry, including Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles, Scalp cruise missiles for long-range strike capability, and various precision-guided munitions.


Operational Range:

- Su-30MKI: The Su-30MKI has a longer operational range compared to the Rafale, allowing it to conduct missions at greater distances from its base.


- Rafale: The Rafale has a shorter operational range than the Su-30MKI, but it compensates with aerial refueling capability, enabling it to extend its range during missions.


Additional Points:

  • The maximum speed of the Sukhoi Su-30MKI is 2,120 km/h (Mach 2.0) at high altitude, whereas, the maximum speed of Rafale is 1,912 km/h (Mach 1.8) at high altitude.


  • Rafale can carry bombs and munitions of up to 9,500 kg, which is more than the Sukhoi Su-30MKI which can carry loads of up to 8,130 kg.


  • The Russian-origin Sukhoi Su-30MKI is the fourth-generation fighter aircraft, whereas the French-origin Rafale is a 4.5-generation fighter aircraft with low observability to radar and the ability to fly at supersonic speed.


Here are some of the major points of difference between the two aircraft:


          Sukhoi Su-30MKI




1 or 2


21.935 m (72 ft 0 in)

15.27 m (50 ft 1 in)


14.7 m (48 ft 3 in)

10.90 m (35 ft 9 in)


6.36 m (20 ft 10 in)

5.34 m (17 ft 6 in)

Wing area

62 m2 (670 sq ft)

45.7 m2 (492 sq ft)

Empty weight

18,400 kg

10,300 kg

Gross weight

26,090 kg

15,000 kg

Max takeoff weight

38,800 kg

24,500 kg

Fuel capacity

9640 kg

4,700 kg

Maximum speed

2,120 km/h (Mach 2.0) at high altitude

1,350 km/h (Mach 1.09) at low altitude

1,912 km/h (Mach 1.8) at high altitude

1,390 km/h (Mach 1.1) at low altitude


3,000 km at a high altitude

1,270 km at low altitude

1,850 km on penetration mission (combat range)

Ferry range

8,000 km

3,700 km with 3 drop tanks

Service ceiling

17,300 m (56,800 ft)

15,835 m (51,952 ft)

Rate of climb

300 m/s (59,000 ft/min)

304.8 m/s (60,000 ft/min)


12 hardpoints

14 hardpoints



4.5 generation

Armament carrying

Up to 8,130 kg

Up to 9,500 kg


In a nutshell, both the Su-30MKI and Rafale are valuable assets to the Indian Air Force, with their unique strengths and capabilities suited for various operational requirements.

For more detail, you can watch this video:

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