Worth about $900 million, the contract for 18 Russian-made Su-30MKM aircraft to bedelivered to RMAF was signed on the topgovernmental level in August 2003, with theRosoboronexport state corporation to fulfil it.The aircraft were to be developed by the Sukhoicompany and built by the Irkut Corp. Under the deal, in addition to delivering the fighters,Russia was to train RMAF flying and groundcrews and provide weapons and other equip-ment relevant to the effective operation of thefighters. A decision was taken to have Malaysia’spersonnel trained in their country. RMAF hadtaken delivery of the first two aircraft in June2007 and four more by the year-end, with thenext six in March 2008. The remaining six Su-30MKMs were delivered in summer 2009.The Su-30MKM fighter is a derivative of theproven Su-30MKI that has been in service withthe Indian Air Force (IAF) since 2002. Under the contracts fulfilled or still under way, IAF isto take delivery of as many as 272 Su-30MKIfighters by the end of this decade, of which50 were built by Russia’s Irkut Corporation and222 are to be licence-produced by Indian aircraftmanufacturer HAL under a licence programme.To date, Irkut has shipped 50 fighters of the typeto India as well as more than 120 licence produc-tion kits. The first Indian-assembled Su-30MKIhas been flown and handed over to IAF inNovember 2004. Since then, the number of Indian-produced Su-30MKIs in IAF’s inven-tory has been on the rise. As for today, more than170 Su-30MKIs – both delivered from Russiaand assembled by HAL – are in service with IAF.One more derivative of the fighter, theSu-30MKI(A), was developed by Sukhoiand delivered by Irkut Corp. The customer is Algerian Air Force which ordered 28 fight-ers of the type in 2006 and 16 more in 2010.Deliveries began in late 2007 and by 2013 a totalof 44 Su-30MKI(A) fighters have been built by Irkut and delivered to the customer.“The Su-30MKM is another step indeveloping the Su-30 platform further,” theSukhoi design bureau’s First Deputy Designer General Alexander Barkovsky told Take-off.The Malaysian version is wrapped around theSu-30MKI design, differing mostly in avionics but retaining its airframe, AL-31FP thrust vec-tor-controlled (TVC) engines and fly-by-wirecontrol system. Still, “there have been a number of radical modifications to the Malaysian air-craft”, Alexander Barkovsky said.They included, first and foremost, modifica-tions to the IFF transponder, self-defence suite,display system and podded optronic systems. For instance, the Su-30MKM mounts an advancedFrench-made IFF system, with its ‘plates’ situ-ated on top the nose section fore of the cockpit.
Coming summer will mark the 10th anniversary of the landmark contract for 18 Sukhoi/Irkut Su-30MKM two-seatsupermanoeuvrable multirole fighters for the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The aircraft have been successfully operated byRMAF, being its most advanced and sophisticated aircraft type. The Irkut corporation delivered them to Malaysia between2007 and 2009. Now all of 18 superagile Su-30MKMs are in service with the 11th squadron of the Royal Malaysian Air Forcestationed at Gong Kedak air base in the Kelantan province, on the coast of the South China Sea, 300 km north of the nationalcapital, Kuala Lumpur. The international debut of the advanced Malaysian fighters took place at LIMA 2007 airshow at theisland of Langkawi. This time, Su-30MKMs are also the participants of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospaceexhibition and, no doubt, will become the main stars of the demonstration flight programme at LIMA '13.
IN SERVICE WITH RMAF
IN SERVICE WITH RMAF
A n d r e y F o m i n