Paris Air Show

Irkut sends first two Flankers to Malaysia

 - June 17, 2007, 8:44 AM

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.

Malaysia signed for the Su-30MKM in August 2003, during an official visit by Russian President Valdimir Putin. The selection of the Flanker was influenced by the successful operation of the Su-30MKI by India, with whom Malaysia maintains close ties. The Su-30MKM is based closely on the Su-30MKI and features canard foreplanes and thrust-vectoring. The avionics are a mix of Russian and Western equipment. Russia supplies the radar (NIIP N011M Bars phased-array), infrared search-and-track turret forward of the windscreen and jammers. Saab Avitronics provides the passive warning set, comprising RWS50 radar warning, MAW300 UV missile approach warning and LWS310 laser warning receivers. Rohde-Schwarz provides the comm system, while Thales supplies the head-up display, NAVFLIR infrared system and Damocles laser designation pod. The Reco NG pod has also been specified for the Su-30MKM. Weapons are initially of Russian origin, although it is expected that the MBDA MICA will be adopted, possibly with the Thales TopSight helmet-mounted display.

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NPK Irkut signed a deal earlier this year for 18 Su-30MKIs to replace a similar number of earlier Su-30Ks supplied to India, which Irkut will take back. HAL is building the Su-30MKI under license, with 140 on order. The program was restructured last year to bring forward the completion date from 2017 to 2014, while negotiations are currently under way to add another 40 aircraft. Meanwhile, the first two batches of Su-30MKIs are due to go back to the HAL Nasik factory this year to be upgraded to current production standards, with expanded combat capabilities and simplified maintenance. This rework program will run to 2009.

In March 2006 the Algerian air force ordered a batch of 28 Su-30MKA Flankers. They are similar to the Su-30MKMs in most respects and employ a Russian/Western mix of systems. The Algerian deal differs slightly from those with India and Malaysia insofar as responsibility for the non-Russian equipment is maintained by the manufacturer, rather than being handed over to the customer on delivery.