Vietnam To Receive the Last ‘Classic’ Flankers

 - April 28, 2016, 9:28 AM
The Sukhoi Su-30M2 is an air superiority version of the Flanker for the Russian air force. (Photo: Vladimir Karnozov)

The imminent delivery of from Russia of two Sukhoi Su-30MK2 twin-seat versions to Vietnam will make the end of production for the “classic” version of the Flanker multirole fighter. But production of advanced “generation 4++” versions—the Su-30SM, Su-34 and Su-35—featuring markedly different airframes and more powerful engines will continue through at least 2020.

Vietnam previously took delivery of 30 out of the 32 Su-30MK2s that it ordered in three batches during 2009, 2012 and 2013. Delivery of the final pair will bring its total fleet to 48, including Su-27SKs, Su-27UBKs as well as Su-30MK2s. Indonesia and Uganda were also recent customers for the Su-30MK2, receiving six each in 2012-13.

Meanwhile, the Russian Air and Space Force (VKS) received earlier this year the last five of 20 Su-30M2 twin-seat air superiority versions that it ordered in 2010 (four) and 2012 (16).

All these Flankers have been produced by Sukhoi’s main factory in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Meanwhile, the IAZ factory of the Irkut Corporation has been manufacturing the Su-30MKI/MKA/SM series featuring canards (foreplanes) and other improvements, which set them apart from the classic Flanker.

Orders still to be fulfilled for these aircraft are 14 for Algeria and 140 assembly kits for India, both due for completion next year. Deliveries of four Su-30SMs to Kazakhstan took place in 2015. This country and Belarus are in the process of formalizing additional orders for this model. Iran has indicated its interested in a license production deal modeled after that between Russia and India, which created an Su-30MKI assembly line set up at HAL’s Bangalore complex. The Indian air force is due to receive a total of 272 Su-30MKIs, imported plus locally assembled.