Thursday, August 20, 2009

Russian Defense Ministry orders 64 Su-family

The Russian Defense Ministry and the Sukhoi aircraft maker signed on Tuesday a contract on the delivery of 64 Su fighters to the Russian Air Force. The contract, signed during the MAKS-2009 air show in Zhukovsky near Moscow, stipulates the delivery of 48 Su-35 by 2015, and 12 Su-27SM and four Su-30M2 multirole fighters by 2011. The value of the contract was not disclosed, but according to open sources, the cost of a Su-35 fighter, billed as "4++ generation using fifth-generation technology," is estimated at up to $65 million.

The head of Vnesheconombank (VEB), Vladimir Dmitriyev, announced at the air show on Tuesday that the national development bank would grant Sukhoi a 3.5 billion-ruble ($109 million) loan to start mass production of Su-35 jets. The Su-35 fighter, powered by two 117S engines with thrust vectoring, combines high maneuverability and the capability to effectively engage several air targets simultaneously using both guided and unguided missiles and weapon systems. The aircraft also features the new Irbis-E radar with a phased antenna array, which allows the pilot to detect and track up to 30 air targets, while simultaneously engaging up to eight targets.

It is equipped with a 30-mm cannon with 150 rounds, and can carry up to eight metric tons of combat payload on 12 external mounts. Russia's Air Force commander, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, said in July that up to three air regiments would be equipped with Su-35 fighters in the future. Russia also plans to export at least 160 Su-35 fighters to several countries including India, Malaysia and Algeria.

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