In January, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced that the Russian Aerospace Forces are to receive more than 100 new and upgraded aircraft, including Sukhoi Su-35S and Su-30SM multi-role fighter aircraft, Su-34 attack fighter aircraft, Russian Helicopters Ka-52, Mi-28 and Mi-8 of various modifications, as well as other types of aviation hardware. Last year, up to 200 aircraft and helicopters, and more than 100 units of air and missile defence systems were delivered.
Russian Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov visited the Irkutsk aviation plant in February. He stated: ”This year, the programme of production will include 24 aircraft – ten YAK-130 advanced jet trainers, and 14 Su-30SM multi-role fighter aircraft [NATO reporting name Flanker-H] including two for Russian Naval Aviation He added that 17 aircraft were in final assembly, which will allow them to be delivered on time. Borisov added that work on the modernisation of Su-30SM will begin this year.
The Su-30SM is based on the Su-30MKI export version equipped with a Russian avionics package and a new ejection seat. The first contract for 60 aircraft was awarded to the Irkut Corporation in 2012. According to Borisov, there are now more than 100 Su-30SM aircraft in operation, and that they have proved themselves in Syria where they showed all their combat capabilities. The Su-30SMs provided air cover for all the Russian air sorties in Syrian airspace. The type also escorted Tu-160 missile carrying strategic bombers over the Mediterranean Sea.
by David Oliver