Moscow, Russia: Russia’s Air Force may receive over 60 Su fighters worth at least 60 billion rubles ($1.9 bln) under a contract expected to be signed at the MAKS-2009 air show. “Contracts have been drafted to supply 48 Su-35, four Su-30M2 and 12 Su-27M fighters by 2015. They are expected to be signed on the opening day of the air show,” a Russian defense industry source said on Monday.
The Russian Defense Ministry is yet to provide an official comment.
According to open sources, the cost of a Su-35 fighter, billed as “4++ generation using fifth-generation technology,” is estimated at up to $1.4 billion.
The Su-35 fighter, powered by two 117S engines with thrust vectoring, combines high maneuverability and the capability to effectively engage several air targets simultaneously using both guided and unguided missiles and weapon systems.
The aircraft also features the new Irbis-E radar with a phased antenna array, which allows the pilot to detect and track up to 30 air targets, while simultaneously engaging up to eight targets.
It is equipped with a 30-mm cannon with 150 rounds, and can carry up to eight metric tons of combat payload on 12 external mounts.
Russia’s Air Force commander, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said in July that up to three air regiments will be equipped with Su-35 fighters in the future.
Russia also plans to export at least 160 Su-35 fighters to several countries including India, Malaysia and Algeria.
Meanwhile, the MAKS-2009 air show, which opens on August 18 at the Zhukovsky airfield southeast of Moscow, has been overshadowed by a mid-air collision of two Su-27 fighters from Russia’s elite aerobatics group Russkiye Vityazi (Russian Knights) on Sunday.
The commander of the group, Col. Igor Tkachenko, was killed in the accident, while two other pilots and five civilians were severely injured.
However, the organizer of the MAKS-2009 air show has said the event will go ahead as planned.