Following the sale of 12 upgraded former Indian Air Force (IAF) Su-30K jets to Angola, Moscow has expressed interest in selling six of the remaining Sukhois ahead of Russia-Africa summit.
India bought 40 Su-30 planes in 1996. Eighteen of these fighters (8 Su-30Ks and 10 Su-30MKs) lacking features such as canards and thrust vector controls, were then shipped back to Russia under a trade-in scheme. India replaced these with more advanced Su-30MKIs.
Russia offered these jets to African nations. Angola agreed to buy 12 of these second hand Sukhoi fighters for an estimated $1 billion in 2013, shipment of which concluded in May 2019. The fighters were reportedly upgraded to the “SM” standard in Belarus' 558th Aircraft Repair Plant, which was the principal contractor to perform repair works of Su-27s (from which the Su-30 was derived) during the Soviet period.
Rosoboronexport is currently looking for a buyer for the remaining six planes, TASS reported Wednesday.
The summit will be held from October 23-24. Leaders of all 54 African countries have been invited, of which 40 have confirmed their participation.
“Angola’s Sukhoi fighters have been upgraded to Su-30SM standard, giving them the ability to fire anti-ship and air-to-air missiles. They are also fitted with jammers. The contract included delivery of a flight simulator and training aids from Belarus,” Alexander Vorobey, Deputy Director for Development at the 558th Aviation Repair Plant, said in May.
The Su-30SM is an upgraded version of the Su-30MKI and MKM variants developed for the Russian Air Force. It has improved avionics including glass cockpit and Bars-R radar, amongst others. It has canards and AL-31FP engines with thrust vector control for improved manoeuvrability. It is not clear how many of the Su-30SM’s upgrades Angolan aircraft have received.