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02:32 PM, September 10, 2015
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Fleet of Su-30SM fighter jets (Image: Irkut)

The Russian Ministry of Defense might order an additional 75 Su-30SM multi-role fighter jets with Irkut.

“Russia might teed up a larger contract for up to 75 of the military planes. The planes were being purchased for the Russian navy, and “will give additional orders to the Irkut Aviation Plant, and secure its corresponding economic stability,” Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov was quoted as saying by Ria Novosti Thursday.

Russia has signed a contract for the delivery of eight Su-30SM fighters on Monday.

Irkut is completing the final deliveries of a 2011 contract for 60 Su-30SM fighter jets, and according to Borisov the Defense Ministry is preparing to sign a follow-on contract next year. The new agreement would see 20 to 25 of the jets delivered annually to the military for a period of three years. The Su-30SM is the latest modification of the Russian Su-30 heavy multi-role fighter, based on the older MKI model developed for export to the Indian air force. The Su-30 is itself based on the Soviet-designed Su-27 Flanker fighter jets.

In August, head of naval aviation Major General Igor Kozhin said the navy would procure around 50 of the Su-30SM fighters by 2020. This would bring the total number of Su-30SM fighters in service with the Russian military up to 160, the Vedomosti business daily reported Monday. Borisov did not say how much the Defense Ministry will be paying for its next batch of Su-30SM fighters, but according to Vedomosti, the price for the export-oriented Su-30MKI variant stands at 2 billion rubles ($30 million) per unit.

The Defense Ministry is also negotiating a follow-on contract to a 66 billion ruble ($1 billion) agreement with the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) for 48 of the newer Su-35 heavy multi-role fighter jets. Like Irkut, Sukhoi is completing its existing contract, which was signed in 2009, with the Defense Ministry this year.

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