Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said Thursday that the Russian troops will get more than a dozen new Su-30 SM fighter jets in 2018, Sputnik reports.
"This year’s production plan is limited to 24 planes: ten Yak-130s, 12 planes for the Aerospace Forces and two Su-30SMs for the Navy," he said during a tour of an aviation plant in the eastern Siberian city of Irkutsk.
Borisov said the assembly of 17 planes was in the final stage and looked to be completed on time. He added the ministry was going to sign a contract this year for the purchase of more Yak-130 jets, with 92 already in service.
Borisov further stated that the defense ministry will begin upgrading already existing Su-30SM multirole fighter aircraft this year, which is slated to join the army in 2019.
"We plan to kick off modernization this year, complete its first stage in 2019 and then start [deliveries of] upgraded vehicles," Borisov was quoted as saying by TASS.
There are 100 Su-30SM aircraft in Russia’s inventory, he said. "They performed in the best possible way in Syria and proved all their capabilities. This aircraft is to be upgraded in terms of import substitution and adaptation of new air weapons," Borisov said, noting that these fighters will operate up to 40 years.
The super-maneuverable Su-30SM two-seat fighter is the last modified version of the basic Su-30. It was developed under the requirements of the Russian Defense Ministry for radar, communication and IFF systems, as well as weaponry and other equipment. The first contracts to deliver Su-30SMs to the Russian army were inked in 2012.
The aircraft is designed to gain air superiority, block enemy’s airfields and destroy air, ground and sea targets