The Armenian Government is negotiating with Russia for the possible acquisition of additional Su-30SM fighter jets for its air force. This was confirmed by the Armenian Defense Minister David Tonoyan.
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Armenian Air Force currently operates four Su-30SM jets, which entered service in 2019. Tonoyan informed the Radio Free Liberty’s Armenian service about the procurement updates, in an interview on August 30.
He also said that Russia does not transport military supplies to Armenia- commenting on the statements of Azerbaijani authorities. “The transfer was carried out within the framework of the 102nd Russian military base. Russia does not transport military cargo for Armenia now. We do it ourselves,” the minister said.
Tonoyan also informed that a contract for modernization of four Su-25 fighters could also be inked and that the upgrades would be carried out on Russian soil.”It is still impossible to organize this in Armenia,” he said.
Last week, the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) spokesperson stated that they are ready to discuss the supply of new Su-30SM fighter jets to the Armenian government.
“The work with the Armenian partners continues. The topic of the purchase of aircraft will be discussed if the Armenian side confirms its interest,” said Maria Vorobyova, the official representative of the FSMTC of Russia.
The Su-30SM ‘Flanker-H’
The Su-30SM is a modernized 4+ generation version of the original Russian Su-30 fighter aircraft. Being a supermaneuverable jet, it is one of the world’s finest dogfighters with upgrades being done to equip it with credible BVR engagement options (beyond visual range).
The aircraft was a further development of the Indian version of the Su-30 – the Su-30MKIs. According to experts, the Russians realized that the MKI variant was a vastly improvised and enhanced and thus developed their own version of the MKIs – the Su-30SM.
According to Yury Borisov – former deputy PM of Russia – the reliability indicators of the Su-30SM deployed to Syria exceeded the projected levels by several times, citing “The achieved reliability indicators… of the new Su-35 and Su-30SM jets in intensive combat operation were three-four times higher than the expectation.
The aircraft can be used to gain air supremacy and for targeting adversary on the ground using a wide range of weapons including air-to-air, air-to-surface, and guided and unguided bombs with total weapons weight up to 8000 kg.