A mounting body of visible evidence, plus reports from those on the ground, intercepted communications and preliminary analysis of electronic emissions, suggest that Russian-backed separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine were responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH017 on July 17.
Efforts by Iraq’s embattled Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to urgently acquire combat aircraft to assist with the battle against Isis rebels have already born fruit in the form of Sukhoi Su-25 “Frogfoot” attack aircraft from Russia and Iran.
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.
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.