Home' Defence Review Asia : DRA July-August 2016 Contents MILITARY AIRCRAFT
Su-30SM (newer version of Su-30MKI). Credit: V Karnozov
of Rostec Corporation, the Russian state industrial
development authority. The deal restores China to
the role of a major client for Russian combat jets,
after a break of twelve years.
CUSTOMIZED INDIAN SU-30MKI
New Delhi and Moscow signed the framework
agreement on a customized version of the Flanker
designed the Su-30MKI back in 1996. The
agreement called for direct shipments from the
Irkutsk Aircraft Plant (IAZ) of the Irkut Corporation
and setting up a second assembly line at the HAL
Bangalore complex. Since then the sides have
signed a number of additional contracts detailing
the framework agreement (and more are coming).
The President of United Aircraft Corporation (which
controls Irkut and IAZ) Yuri Slyusar told the media
at Aero India 2015 that out of 272 Su-30MKIs that
the Russian side supplied to India ready-for-use
and in the form of kits, 222 were assembled are
being assembled at the HAL Bangalore complex.
He further said that the partners were negotiating
on extra kits.
Other sources in the industry insist that the
shipment of the kits under already placed contracts
is still ongoing, and that the last of 222 on order
are going to be handed over in 2017. When the
author visited the IAZ plant in June 2016, he was
told that the negotiations were ongoing to increase
the grand total of Indian Su-30MKIs to "over three
The Su-30MKI features the powerful N-014M
Bars multimode phased-array radar, canards
(foreplanes) and thrust-vectoring (none of which
are present on less advanced "Chinese" version
of the Classic Flanker). The aircraft provided a
base for the customized versions for the Algerian
(Su-30MKA), Malaysian (Su-30MKM) and Russian
(Su-30SM) air force variants, all of which are now
operational. Also, Iran has indicated it is interested
in a purchase and license production deal modelled
after that between Russia and India.
VIETNAM, INDONESIA, MALAYSIA,
This year Vietnam shall become the last customer for
the Classic Flanker to receive such aircraft new from
the KNAAPO factory in Komsomolsk-upon-Amur. The
Russian air force has already accepted twenty Su-
30M2s, the last of which came late last year.
The first Flanker arrived in Vietnam in 1994. Up to
2002 Russia delivered sixteen Su-27SK single seat
interceptors and Su-27UBK operational trainers.
Hahoi shifted to the Su-30MK2 twin seat multirole
fighter in 2004, with an initial order for four such
aircraft in 2003. It bought eight more in 2009 and
twelve in 2010. Shipments under these orders were
complete in 2012. The final order came in 2013, for
twelve more aircraft to be provided in 2014-2016.
Last year, Sukhoi delivered eight of those: four
came in December 2014, two in August 2015 and
two in December 2015. The next pair of aircraft
was ferried to Vietnam earlier this year. The final
batch of two aircraft is expected to be shipped
any time soon. This would bring the strength of the
Vietnamese Su-30MK2 fleet to 36, and, with earlier
versions added, the Flanker fleet would come to
some fifty aircraft.
Indonesia firmed up its first order for Sukhoi jets
in 2003. Since then it acquired five Su-27SKs and
eleven Su-30MK2s, the last of which was delivered
in 2013. For over three years now negotiations have
been in progress on twelve Su-35 Advanced Flankers,
so far without a firm order having been placed.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force took delivery
of 18 Su-30MKM multirole fighters worth US
$910 million in 2007-2008. Whereas its closest
neighours accepted "Chinese" versions of the
Flanker, Malaysia asked for the Indian variant
with certain upgrades. Changes were chiefly to
substitute Israeli HUD and other items with more
modern ones from Germany and France.
At the turn of the century, Bangladesh acquired
six MiG-29s and two MiG-29UBs under a contract
worth US$124 million. After a long pause, this
customer came back to Russia in 2013, when
a hire purchase deal was arranged for sixteen
Yakovlev Yak-130 weaponized trainers. Last year,
fourteen jets were deliveried, with the reminder
due shortly. Thus, Bangladesh became the second
overseas customer for the type (after Algeria), and
first operator in Asia-Pacific.
FULCRUMS FOR MYANMAR
The Russian Aircraft Corporation "MiG" (RAC
MiG) remains the second largest Russian supplier
of combat jets to the Asia-Pacific. Recent sales
include those to Myanmar, which ordered sixteen
MiG-29B/S single seat multirole fighters and four
MiG-29UB twin seat operatonal trainers in 2009.
Shipments took place in 2011-2013.
Earlier, in 2002-2003, this nation acquired
fourteen MiG-29s. Myanmar also bought a number
of advanced training tools including a modern full
flight simulator. It was one of the very first such
devices built by RAC MiG after the company
established its own simulator division at the turn of
Myanmar's deal is going to take its place in the
history books, for it is most likely be the last foreign
customer for the Classic Fulcrum to receive its
aircraft new from the factory. It is interesting to
note that the MiG-29S represents a transitional
model with few copies assembled. The reason for
Myanmar accepting a mix of mass-produced "B"
and rare "S" examples was simple: these were the
last airframes available from the once-huge MiG-29
stocks. In the early 1990s MiG manufacturing went
into intertia, resulting in many "white tails" going
into storage. Their intended buyer - the Russian Air
Force - had no money to pay for aircraft ordered
before the demise of the Soviet Union.
Gradually, however, these stocks have been
depleted through sales to Bangladesh, Hungary,
Yemen, Slovakia, Sudan, Eritrea, Peru and Malaysia.
10 DefenceReviewAsia | JULY-AUG 2016
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