Geopolitical shifts including regime-change in Libya, the stiffening of international sanctions against Iran and violent unrest in Syria, are among the trends compelling Russian military export agency Rosoboronexport to keep looking for new clients worldwide. This is, to a large degree, one of its primary motives for exhibiting at the Farnborough International Airshow.
Russian Air Force
Russian Air Force commander Gen. Alexander Zelin has elaborated further about aircraft acquisition plans under the country’s Weapons Program 2011-2020. His comments addressed the Sukhoi series of combat aircraft, as well as airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft, airlifters and the Yak-130 jet trainer. Zelin said that the air force will acquire about 60 Sukhoi PAKFA (T-50) fifth-generation fighters by 2020.
A follow-on order for 92 aircraft has boosted production of the Sukhoi Su-34 strike fighter. Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Sukhoi general director Igor Azar signed the contract on March 1. The Russian MoD signed for 32 Su-34s in 2008, of which 10 have been delivered so far. The air force expects 12 more this year. Production at the NAPO plant in Novosibirsk will now continue through 2020.
Russia’s first stealth fighter, the Sukhoi T-50, made its public debut last week at the Moscow Air Show (MAKS 2011), where Russian air force commander General Alexander Zelin gave an update on this and other re-equipment programs. The two T-50 prototypes flew in formation, before one gave a restrained solo display.
A total of 12 Sukhoi Su-34 interdiction aircraft are being procured this year, according to Russian air force commander General Alexander Zelin, speaking last week at the Moscow Air Show (MAKS 2011). The service is seeking a total of 120 Su-34s, Zelin said.
More than 50 Sukhoi Su-25s have now undergone a mid-life upgrade and modernization, bringing them to the Su-25SM standard. The attack aircraft, which is modified by the Aircraft Repair Station 121 based in Kubinka, Russia, was on display last week at the Moscow Air Show (MAKS 2011). This year, the station launched a program for the mid-life upgrade of the Su-25UB twin seaters.
Years of speculation were brought to an end last Friday with the long-anticipated public debut of Russia’s new Sukhoi T-50 fighter, on the occasion of its first flight. Test pilot Sergey Bogdan took the prototype aircraft aloft for a successful 47-minute maiden voyage from Dzemgi airfield at Komsomolsk-na-Amur, followed by the public release of still and video imagery.
The Russian government has finally committed to production of the Sukhoi Su-35 combat aircraft, which features thrust-vectoring and e-scan radar. At the MAKS 2009 airshow at Zhukovsky airbase near Moscow this month, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed a contract worth $2.5 billion for 48 Su-35S models. They will be delivered to the Russian Air Force by 2015.
Sukhoi’s Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Industrial Association (KnAAPO) has started manufacturing the first development prototypes of an advanced fifth-generation fighter. Sukhoi told AIN that it will complete an experimental aircraft in the second half of next year, after which it will start flight trials.
Russian fifth-generation fighter programs could undergo major revisions to meet India’s requirements, following Sukhoi’s offer of an export version of the latest T-50 model. With India as a major importer of Russian defense equipment (purchases last year accounted for $1.8 billion), Sukhoi and its rival/possible collaborator can ill-afford to be out of sync with the Asian power’s military agenda.
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