Six Su-30 jets have been ordered. Reports in the public domain indicate the cost per aircraft to be between $30 – 40 million. The Su-30 is a twin-engine, two-seater multi-role advanced tactical fighter aircraft from the Sukhoi Aviation Corporation of Russia.
The aircraft has ground hugging capabilities, Nap-of-the-earth (NOE). A type of very low-altitude flight to help avoid detection. Its potential was witnessed and photographed during an air show at Zhangjiajie Hehua International Airport in China. It flew along the runway at an altitude of just 1 metre. The aircraft has a reported maximum cruising speed of 2,500 km per hr.
The exact model ordered has not been disclosed. The marque is well known. The Su-30MKI is the Indian Air force’s primary multirole fighter. Aircraft from the same brand are in use with many other countries including China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Nigeria and Belarus.
The announcement of the Myanmar order was made by Russian Deputy Defence Minister, Lieutenant General Alexander Fomin at the end of the visit last month by Mr Sergey Shoigu, the Russian Defence Minister, a post he has held since 2012.
Mr Formin stated: “During the Russian defence minister’s visit an agreement was reached under which Myanmar would purchase six Su-30 planes, [the aircraft] will become the main fighter aircraft of Myanmar’s air force to protect the country’s territorial integrity and repel any terror threats.”
He added that “Russian armaments proved their capability during their operation in Myanmar’s Armed Forces. These are, in particular, the Mi-24, Mi-35 and Mi-17 helicopters, as well as the MiG-29 fighter aircraft, the Yak-130 combat-capable trainer aircraft, the Pechora-2 air defence system and other equipment”.
He also confirmed that more than 600 Burmese military are studying in Russia’s higher military educational institutions, stating, “All of this helps tighten security in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim in general”.
Running costs for these aircraft are substantial. For a Mig the estimates are $20,000 per hour and $35,000 for the Su-30.
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