On Monday, Irkut company officials announced the aircraft producer is in negotiations to sell the Defense Ministry up to 40 Su-30MK fighters. They believe they’ll finalize the contract in 2012.
The officials say the base contract will be for 28 aircraft, with an option for 12.
Vedomosti says a source close to Rosoboroneksport says the fighters go for $50 million a piece, or $2 billion for 40.
Neither the Air Forces nor government holding company OAK reacted to Irkut’s announcement, according to Izvestiya.
Irkut President Aleksey Fedorov told Interfaks the manufacturer sees declining demand for the Su-30MK family, and wants to cease production over the next ten years. At that time, it will be producing only the Yak-130 trainer for the military. Irkut intends to concentrate its efforts and investment on building the MS-21 regional passenger jet.
Fedorov told Izvestiya the Su-30MK export model will be “Russified” for 1.5 billion rubles – the onboard computers and displays will change from English to Russian, and some French and Israeli components will be swapped out for Russian ones. The Russian variant may be called the Su-30SM.
There’s been talk about a small procurement of Su-30MK, or Su-30M2, since MAKS-2009, and two Su-30 fighters arrived at a unit in the Far East last month, according to ITAR-TASS. The Far East Air Forces and Air Defense Army’s Chief of Aviation, Colonel Aleksandr Maksimtsev said Su-30 deliveries will continue.
A number of commentators have argued for buying the Su-30 for the Air Forces instead of waiting for the Su-35. CAST’s Konstantin Makiyenko told Izvestiya:
“The Su-35 still isn’t completely finished, and it’s unclear when it’ll be accepted into the inventory. Therefore, a fully developed export product which has completed all RDT&E will be taken and accepted into the inventory. This is, indisputably, a smart decision.”
ITAR-TASS wrote that the Russian Air Forces didn’t acquire the Su-30 for financial reasons. But Izvestiya noted more than 270, in various configurations, have been sold since 1997, with buyers including India, Algeria, Venezuela, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, and Uganda.