Irkut Says Flankers Ready for Delivery

Nine Sukhoi Su-30MKMs flew in a diamond formation on June 1, 2010 over Sungei Besi to mark RMAF birthday. www.malaysiandefence.com

KUALA LUMPUR: The press release from Irkut Corporation below is self-explainatory. It appears that Irkut is eager to have all 18 Flankers delivered to RMAF before Lima 09. Of course they would as it would free them to speak on other matters instead trying to explain why the delay in delivery as speculated in earlier postings before. They may still be asked by reporters on the reason for delays but they can refused commenting on the issue if all 18 planes are accepted by RMAF.

The full delivery will also allow Irkut to have a wonderful ramp ceremony at Lima and may well set the stage for the introduction of its latest Flanker variant, the Su-35.

RMAF Sukhoi M52-07 displayed in 2008.
RMAF Sukhoi M52-07 displayed in 2008.

The more important things to be discussed at Lima 09 is of course RMAFs’ another MRCA squadron. While RMAF would dearly love another five more MRCA squadrons, Malaysian Defence believed that the service is savvy enough to know that we cannot afford those numbers, another 18 is achievable even in the current economic climate.

While Malaysian Defence disagrees with the Flanker purchase and preferred the Super Bug, it is certainly not realistic that we should buy the US-made fighters this time around (even if money is available). Malaysian Defence understands that RMAF wants the Super Bug, but its time for us to drop the bad 90s policy of mixing east and west planes for defence.

It looks good on paper and the diplomats may be smiling but at the end of the day its our armed forces that has to suffer the consequences. Its look like we are stuck with the Flankers at least for another 10 years.

RMAF Sukhoi M52-014 with RSAF F16-16D at Lima 2009.
RMAF Sukhoi M52-014 with RSAF F16-16D at Lima 2009.

From Irkut
Irkut Corporation is due to complete Su-30MKM deliveries to the Royal Malaysian Air Force. First two Su-30MKM from the last batch have been already handed over to the customer; the remaining four fighters are expected to arrive in due course.

The contract for 18 Su-30MKM multifunctional fighters for RMAF was signed during the official visit of Vladimir Putin, then President of Russia, to Malaysia in August 2003.

After thorough examination RMAF selected Su-30MKM thus preferring it to US F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter. According to local mass media the decision of Malaysian leadership was largely influenced by India’s successful operation of Su-30MKI.

Su-30 («multi-role, commercial, Malaysian») is the latest version of the renowned super-maneuverable Su-30??I fighter created for India. The aircraft has the same aerodynamically perfect airframe, state-of-the-art engine with the Thrust Vector Control (TVC) and the most advanced digital fly-by-wire system. The MKM version differs from the MKI by the onboard avionics suite composition tailored to accommodate the customer’s needs.

The fighter is fitted with the modern phased antenna array radar which enables simultaneous tracking 15 targets and attacking 4 targets. Su-30MKM avionics suite includes electronic warfare (EW) system and optic-location system with the laser rangefinder supplied by Russia’s leading manufacturers. Also certain western-made avionics were integrated onboard the fighter: Head-up display (HUD) navigational forward-looking IR system NAVFLIR, Laser Designation pod (LDP Damocles) and some others.

Integration of all the avionics systems was carried out with active participation of Su-30MKM Project Team consisting of RMAF officers and based in Moscow.

Presentation of Su-30 took place on the 24th May of 2007 at Irkutsk Aviation plant – Irkut Corporation key production facility. In his interview to Malaysian national agency Bernama Chief of RMAF Gen Azizan Ariffin defined that day as a “historical date”. According to Chief of RMAF, Malaysia acquired from Russia “the most sophisticated multi-role aircraft in Southeast Asia”.

In December 2007 two Su-30 took part in display flights at the 8th International air and naval show LIMA (Langkawi) generating a lot of public interest.

Su-30MK multirole fighter is one of the most popular combat aircraft in the world. It’s the first serially produced combat aircraft to sport super-maneuverability and the first export fighter equipped with phased antenna array onboard radar.

Irkut Corporation successfully fulfills contracts for the delivery of Su-30MK-type fighters to India, Algeria and Malaysia, along with technical kits for Su-30MKI license production by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

All in all around 300 SU-30MK-type aircraft have been ordered with nearly 150 already delivered. There are certain perspectives to increase order-book. Overhauling Su-30MKI is being set up in India.

Negotiations on IAF’s Su-30MKIs upgrade are underway. In particular it is planned to equip them with BrahMos Indo-Russian anti-ship missiles to create unprecedented weapons suite in the world.

–Malaysian Defence

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7 Comments

  1. Don’t waste money to buy 4th Gen fighters (esp Russian!). Wait for 5th Gen fighters to mature (ie JSF). If really necessary, buy/lease second hand Hornets in the interim.

    MY Govt nowadays dont have much cash anyway, focus on buying adequate number of helicopters and maritime patrol assets.

  2. It would be nice if the gov buys the su-35 cos it is the best option to replace our mig-29n’s

    Marhalim: It would be nice to know whether the Flankers in service will be on par in terms of serviceability with the Hornets first before we cranked up the money machine again….

  3. I think now we shouldn’t buy any more fighter aircraft because we also need to spend on procurement of many support aircraft to support the fighter operation. The current best option is to get maybe around 2-3 AEW&C with several new helicopter maybe around 12 of Cougar and several maritime assets of the second batch of Lekiu class frigate and NGPV in the upcoming 10th Malaysian Plan.

    Maybe procurement for strategic medium-range air defence missile would be better rather then buying fighter aircraft that need more support elements to operate in combat.

  4. Retire the MIG-29 and sell it off. Add some money to it and with the help of US, get at least 10x F-18D (ex USMC) to supplement the current fleet to 18x to make a complete squadron. With limited budget it is time to streamline the RMAF front line fighter to just the SU-30MKM and F-18D. Just a thought.

    Will be good for the next 10 years and by then the 5th Gen AC will mature for new purchase.

    Marhalim: RMAF’s Fulcrum is being retired. There is no C/D Hornets available from the US, they are using them like crazy since GWOT, thats the reason for more Super Hornets are in the pipeline. They would love dearly to get their hands on our Ds, which are babies compared to the same planes in service with the US Navy. From Flight International listing, there are only between 6 and 8 Hornets stored, most probably aircraft which had been damaged in accidents and deemed too expensive to repair.

  5. The government must get it’s priorities in the most practical and logical manner. Firstly, it would be wise to replace the Nuris first then set aside funds for AEW&C. There’s no point having few squadrons of capable MRCAs without AEW&C in service. Then go unmanned, starting with UAVs.

  6. I thing the MAF should replaced some its old aircraft and helicopter (F-5E/F and S-61)and upgraded it all air assets with news avionics/ sensors/engines and weaponary (F/A-18D/Hawks 100/200, Mig-29N/NUB is still capable fighter instead to sold it off, MAF may thing of improved these fighter Avionics/sensor/weaponary/Engines and Airframes, it just a waste people money if sold it off to other country, why just dont buy it in the first place, if this aircraft was not reliable and spec. If the MAF insist to replaced this aircraft and other inventories assets, MAF should setup the Combat Aircraft Project like Brazilian and Indian does.

  7. There are surplus hornets from Canada. Think they have 3040 surplus. Just need to upgrade them to C/D standard.

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