The USAF has waded into Super Flanker territory once again during a recent dissimilar air combat training (DACT) exercise in Malaysia. The operation would see Okinawa based F-15s, some of which are equipped with the world’s most capable fighter radar, the APG-63V3, pitted against aging Malaysian MiG-29s and cutting-edge SU-30MKMs.
Malaysia’s SU-30′s are of particular interest as they are some of the most advanced versions of the aircraft in the world, and it would appear that during this exercise that the jet’s 3D thrust vectoring was utilized during 1 vs 1 basic fight maneuvers (dog-fighting) which must have been quite a challenge for the F-15C. Further, as part of the exercise intercepts were practiced which once again pitted the F-15C vs the SU-30MKM. Malaysian Flankers are equipped with a late-model and very powerful Russian N011M BARS passive electronic scanned array (PESA) radar, housed in their cavernous noses, as well as an advanced electronic warfare system. Regardless of who won or who lost, being able to fight against this advanced foreign radar system most likely provided fantastic data for American intelligence services to pour over. In the past, to my recollection, whenever this radar was flown against US adversaries it was always placed in a degraded mode where all of it’s capabilities, or lack thereof, would not be given away to advanced US electronic service measures (ESM) and electronic intelligence (ELINT) equipped aircraft. Conversely, the same could be said about the F-15C’s APG-63V3 radar, if indeed it was fielded for this training event.