Newfound buying power courtesy of Russian government loans has given Indonesia’s military reason to anticipate a significant upgrade in fighting capability.
The ninth Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace (LIMA) show, held in December, gave the Malaysian air force the opportunity to showcase its newly received Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighters. Three of the six Su-30s delivered to date were on display at the show and one, flown by a Malaysian crew, participated in the daily flying routine.
Test flights of a completely upgraded Sukhoi Su-35 will start before year-end, according to Sukhoi general director Mikhail Pogosyan. The Russian design bureau (Stand E738) hopes the super-maneuverable multi-role fighter will secure its future in the global fighter market shortly and is promoting it as an interim model between the existing Su-30MK and an advanced fifth-generation aircraft.
The expansion of Russia’s defense exports in recent years has caused its manufacturers to buy more components and systems instrumentation from leading Western companies, which has led to closer cooperation between Russian and Western firms.
The Irkut aviation plant on Sunday delivered the first two Su-30MKM multirole fighters to Malaysia, where they will be reassembled. Four more will follow in the summer and another six by the end of the year. The 18-aircraft order will be completed next year. The first two Su-30MKMs had been formally handed over to the Malaysian air force in a ceremony in Irkutsk on May 24.
Three years after its creation, Irkut Corp. has established itself as a key player in still evolving aerospace and defense industry. It is one of the main pillars of the country’s new OAK conglomerate which aspires to become a sort of Russian equivalent to Europe’s EADS group.
The combat potential of Sukhoi fighters will get a boost with the addition of new Russian precision-guided munitions (PGMs) such as the Region company’s LGB-250 (250-kg caliber lightweight guided bomb) and UPAB-1500 (1,500-kg caliber guided glide aviation bomb) and the Kh-59MK from the Tactical Missile Corp. (TMC).
Celebrating its first export order–to Algeria–the Yak-130 is displayed here at Farnborough International as a multirole advanced trainer that can also be employed to destroy ground and some aerial targets when frontline fighter bombers and strike aircraft are not available.
“Russians play chess and Americans play poker,” was the oft-repeated phrase used during the Cold War to describe how the two sides approached the development of their military establishments. Russian designers tended to look very long-term, building significant growth capacity into their platforms and anticipating that requirements would alter significantly over the 40 years that has become the average life span for a modern jet fighter.
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