The Russian government has denied claims that Malaysian Sukhoi fighter jets are difficult to maintain, stating that Kuala Lumpur should follow proper maintenance schedule so that the planes are kept “in the right condition to serve their goals”.
“In India, for example, almost 300 of Su-30 and MiG-29 multipurpose fighter jets constitute the mainstay of the country’s air force capabilities,” the Russian embassy in KL was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today, in response to a report by FMT that Russian-made jets were expensive to maintain due to bureaucracy and lack of transparency on the Russian side.
According to the report, a high-ranking Malaysian official said the Russian way of doing business was not as “open or transparent” as that of other Western nations, adding that there were details not revealed to Malaysia when the jets were sold.
However, Russia dismissed the claims stating that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) itself had cited a lack of government funding as the reason for the problems faced by Malaysia’s fleet of Sukhoi jets.
It said the failure to adequately fund the maintenance of the fleet could have been avoided “if there was interest in keeping the Sukhoi fighter jets in service”.
“Both Russian and foreign military experts many times before admitted that Russia’s military aircraft are one of the cheapest in the world in terms of price and maintenance, and at the same time provide excellent performance in fulfilling operational missions,” it added.
The RMAF purchased the jet fighters in 2003 as part of a US$900 million (S$1.23 billion) contract. At the time, the Malaysian government was also offered by Boeing to purchase its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. The offer was declined and 18 Su-30MKM jets were purchased instead.