Photo Vladimir Karnozov
The Irkutsk Aircraft Plant (IAZ) is assembling two Sukhoi Su-30SM multirole fighters for the Russian air force, Alexey Fedorov, president of the controlling Irkut corporation, said. The pair will be completed and subjected to flight trials by the end of this year.
The new version of the twin-seat Su-30 represents the baseline Su-30MKI with thrust vectoring developed for the Indian air force, but with modifications to meet Russian air force specifications, Fedorov said.
The service is seeking to procure 30 such aircraft, with a contract still being finalised.
"Hopefully, in 2012 we will be able to finalise a contract for 18 Su-30SMs for the Russian air force, with an option for a further 18 for the Russian navy air arm," Fedorov said.
The delivery of the Su-30SM to the Russian armed forces will end a long pause in their acquisition of IAZ-built fighters, after its last Su-30K interceptors and Su-27UB twin-seat operational trainers were handed over in the early 1990s.
It is understood that the decision to procure the Su-30SM was inspired by the successful use of industry-owned Su-30MKI/MKM operational-standard prototypes during Russia's August 2008 conflict with Georgia.