Sir Lanka’s local media has reported that Colombo is interested in purchasing six ex-Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30K fighter aircraft that have been grounded in Belarus.
The negotiations were held last year from November 2-4 between company representatives of Lanka Logistics and Technologies Limited, fully owned by the Government of Sri Lanka, and Russia’s Irkut Corporation at 558 Aircraft Repair Plant, in Baranovichi, Belarus, Colombo’s news agency SL Guardian reported last week.
Moscow has already sold 12 former Indian jets to Angola, and is reportedly waiting to sell 6 to Sir Lanka.
The Sri Lankan government had previously been looking at the Chinese-Pakistani JF-17, however,this was met with protest by India who in turn suggested a procurement of its own development, the LCA Tejas.
Instead, the government is looking at possibilities to buy 6 overhauled SU30MKI to “enhance the national security”.
However, the report points out that a lack of trained pilots in the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) could prove fielding the fighters difficult without additional funding for a new fighter training program and more advanced training aircraft.