The Russian Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker-C and the US General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon are the two most popular jet fighters in the world.
The Su-30 is currently in service in Russia, China, Venezuela, Algeria, Uganda, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Meanwhile the F-16 is even more popular, in the US Air Force and 25 other countries.
Both Su-30 and F-16 are 4th generation fighters, not the latest or most advanced like 5th generation fighters. It should be known that the combat value is not only in the aircraft itself but also depends on electronic equipment, and weapons, so the 5th generation fighter is not necessarily superior to the fourth generation in all aspects. On the other hand, experts say that only 10 years from now, stealth capabilities like today will no longer be effective when electronic technology has new advances. In other words, decades from now, the improved 4th generation fighters will still be rivals of the 5th generation, not until retirement.
The Su-30 and F-16 are the two most commonly used fighters today, each with many different versions. They have different features, equipment and purposes, depending on its battlefield mission. The Su-30 is a heavy, twin-engine fighter, with a maximum take-off weight of 35 tons. Meanwhile, the F-16 is a light fighter, single-engine, with a maximum take-off weight of about 20 tons.
The Sukhoi Su-30 is a large and heavy fighter, but has great maneuverability thanks to the “thrust vectoring” system, first applied to the Su-27 fighters. The exhaust nozzles of the two engines protrude 32 degrees horizontally, and can be rotated up or down 15 degrees. This system, along with the main wing, canards, tail, and rudder, added efficiency to its maneuverability.
To date, the F-16 has ceased production for the US Air Force but continues to produce for export needs. A total of more than 4,600 units were produced. As for the Su-30, more than 630 units have been produced to date and continue with many versions suitable for different missions. The Su-30 is also an important Russian arms export, and Sukhoi also cooperates with India to produce the Su-30 MKI version. As a heavy fighter, the Su-30 carries more munitions than the F-16, including air-to-air, air-to-ground missiles, conventional or guided bombs and a 30 mm GSh-30-1 autocannon with 150 rounds.