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Russia sets sights on more Su-30 and Su-35 fighters

27th August 2020 - 12:10 GMT | by Leonid Nersisyan in Yerevan

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The Russian MoD on 25 August confirmed plans to enlarge its combat aircraft fleet, by announcing contracts for 21 Su-30SM2 and 30 Su-35S fighters, as well as 24 Su-34 bombers and 25 Yak-130 jet trainers.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu signalled these orders a fortnight beforehand, noting on 12 August that the Su-35S deal will be worth RUB70 billion ($956 million).

Later, during a meeting with representatives of the defence industry in the Irkutsk region, Shoigu announced the combined value of the Su-30SM2 fighters and Yak-130 jcontracts will exceed RUB100 billion.

Russia also plans to overhaul some of its Su-30SM fleet in a RUB7.2 billion contract, to be awarded in 2021.

The 25 August announcement also included 14 Il-76MD-90A transport aircraft and 20 DA42T trainers from Diamond Aircraft, as well as the first order for two Il-112V light transport aircraft.

It is notable that the Russian government is urging manufacturers to work on the principle of full lifecycle contracts. It has proved difficult for aerospace groups like United Aircraft Corporation to do this in the past, with negative consequences not just for the operational efficiency of the Russian Armed Forces, but also for the competitiveness of Russian products in the global arms market.

The official Su-30SM2 designation appears to be new. The Russian MoD and media previously referred to the Su-30SM1 as an upgraded version of the Su-30SM. This variant was supposed to bring the fighter closer to the capabilities of the Su-35S, including installation of more powerful AL-41F1S engines and the H035 Irbis radar, as well as the replacement of avionics.

The aircraft will also be able to carry larger weaponry, including Kh-59MK2 high-precision air-to-ground missiles and KAB-250 guided bombs. Shoigu may have referred to this modification when announcing the Su-30SM2 procurement.

As for the Su-35S contract, the value of the latest deal suggests a unit cost far below the $85 million described by Shephard Defence Insight.

At present, the Russian Air Force possesses at least 88 Su-35Ss (96 were to be provided under contracts in 2009 and 2015), 114 Su-30SMs and 111 Yak-130s. 

Leonid Nersisyan

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Leonid Nersisyan


  Leonid Nersisyan is a Shephard Media contributor, based in Yerevan, Armenia.

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