Su-30MKM pilot with Sura HMTDS (photo : MMP)
RMAF Su-30MKM off-boresight capability: Sura Helmet-Mounted Target Designation System (HMTDS) Mounted on French Made Gallet Helmet
Sura Helmet-Mounted Target Designation System (HMTDS) mounted on a French made Gallet Helmets worn by RMAF Su-30MKM Pilot.
In between 1995 to 2007 366 R-73E (AA-11) heat seeking missiles were exported to Malaysia. The R-73 is an infrared-guided (heat-seeking) missile with a sensitive, cryogenic cooled seeker with a substantial "off-boresight" capability: the seeker can "see" targets up to 40° off the missile's centerline. It can be targeted by a helmet-mounted sight (HMS) allowing pilots to designate targets by looking at them. Minimum engagement range is about 300 meters, with maximum aerodynamic range of nearly 30 km (19 mi) at altitude.
The SURA HMS intended to instantly aim controlled weapons (guided missiles, revolving canon units) and surveillance systems at visually visible targets by turning pilot's head, without altering the aircraft course.
The Malaysian deployment of the R-73E and the MiG-29N provided a combination of missile capability and airframe manoeuvrability which would allow a competent pilot to get earlier firing opportunities, higher missile kill rates and better survivability against contemporary jet fighters.
It is interesting to notes that off-boresight weapon system are not new within the RMAF arsenal. The MiG-29N which enter service in 1995 have been using this system probably as early as 1996.