Tag Archives: Flanker

Impressive Indian stop over in Portugal

Portugal welcomed some rare birds last week, as four Indian Sukhoi Su-30 Flankers and four Sepecat Jaguars landed at Beja airbase. The fighter jets were accompanied by two Ilyushin Il-78 tanker aircraft and two C-17 Globemasters whole on their long, long way to Alaska for exercise Red Flag.

India is sending the aircraft plus a contingent of 150 personnel to the prestigious military exercise within the framework of military cooperation between New Delhi and Washington. The last time India attended Red Flag was in 2008. Then, only Su-30s were involved and the stage was not Alaska, but Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

Red Flag

Red Flag features aircraft from the US and other NATO countries and provides an opportunity for the Indian Air Force to train  in complex war environments. Aircraft such as the F-22 Raptor and other fighter jet will be involved and thus provide a good experience for Indian Jaguar pilots and Su-30 crews in particular.

The ferry of the aircraft from India to Alaska was a complex operation. The jets and their support aircraft routed via Bahrain, Egypt, France and Portugal, from where they crossed the Atlantic to Canada before finally arriving in Alaksa for Red Flag.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com contributor Jorge Ruivo – www.cannontwo.blogspot.pt
Featured image (top):  An Indian Air Force Jaguar on finals at Beja. (Image ©
Rafael Vieira)


Russia: 30 more Su-30SM Flankers on the way

The Russian Ministry of Defense has concluded a new contract with the Irkut aircraft manufacturing corporation for 30 more Sukhoi Su-30SM Flanker C fighter aircraft. The contract was announced on Sunday 3 April.

Deliveries of this latest batch of advanced fighter jets are to be concluded by the end of 2018. Total orders for the Russian Air Force now stand at 90. Meanwhile, the Russian Navy is also eyeing the type.

Over the last few months, Russian Air Force Su-30SM jets also participated in Russian air raids over Syria. The majority of those aircraft was pulled back from Syria in March.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): A Sukhoi Su-30SM. (Image © Russian Ministry of Defense)


Belarus moves ahead with Sukhois

As predicted late last year here at Airheadsfly.com, Belarus is moving to purchase a number of Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter aircraft to replace aging MiG-29 Fulcrums. A preliminary agreement was signed between Belarus and Russia earlier in February.

The pending deal concerns twelve aircraft, with deliveries due to start in 2020. A formal contract has yet to be signed, but that seems a formality as relations between Moscow and Minsk have always been close. Russia operates up to sixty Su-30SM jets.

Belarus recently started operational use of the Yak-130, eight of which were ordered earlier. These aircraft replace obsolete L-29 Delphins.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Kazakh Air Force Sukhoi Su-30SM. (Image © Ministry of Defence Kazakhstan)


‘Russian Su-35s in Syria lead to Turkish tense’

In  what could be at best another propaganda foil or at worst a change in strategy in Syria, Russia reportedly has send its most advanced air defense aircraft to Syria. Four Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jets are said to have joined Russian Air Force aircraft in Syria. It would mark the first time Russia sends this jet abroad.

Independent confirmation of the four fighter jets’ actual arrival is still needed. Pictures of the Flankers flying at altitude appeared on social media on Sunday, as the jets were said to be making their way to Syria. In truth, the pictures could have been snapped anytime.

If the jets actually are in Syria, it means Russia is beefing up it air-to-air capability in the area. The apparent move comes just as Turkey warned Moscow about another Russian jet moving into Turkish airspace while operating over Syria. In November, a Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 for that reason. Relations between Ankara and Moscow have since been tense.

Fighter escort

By sending the Flankers, Russia is not seeking to improve relations any time soon. Things will probably get even more tense. The Russian jets could be used for escorting Su-24s, Su-30 and Su-34s during bombing missions. Those types are already operating in Syria.

Operational test

However, the move could also just mean an operational test for the Russians. The wargames over Syria have given the Russian Air Force the opportunity to test its latest equipment and newest tactics. The Su-35 so far was not part of the weapons arsenal used. In fact, the type has never been used in anger before.

The Su-35 Flanker-E is Russia’s most advanced derivative of the Flanker. China recently became the first export customer, closely followed by Indonesia.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The Su-35 Flanker E. (Image © UAC Russia)

Vietnam Flanker fleet almost complete

The Vietnam People’s Air Force’s (QDNDVN) Sukhoi Su-30MK fleet is almost complete. With the delivery of two more of the multi-role fighters just before New Year, only four of 36 ordered Su-30MK2s remain to be delivered.

The final four are expected in two pairs, as with most of the other aircraft they will likely be flown in by AN-124 heavy-lift aircraft from Volga-Dnepr.

Vietnam Su-30 deliveries

Vietnam already had 24 Sukhoi Su-30MK2s when it ordered another dozen in 2013. Early deliveries took place in 2003 (4 aircraft), 2009 (8) and 2010 (12). The Flankers of the 2013 order started to arrive in 2014. Moreover, the Vietnam People’s Air Force flies 12 older Sukhoi Su-27, delivered between 1995 and 1998.

Vietnam Flanker bases

The Sukhoi Su-27SKs, -PUs and -UBKs all fly with the 940th Fighter/Air Training Regiment out of Phù Cát in the middle of the country, while the newer Su-30 operate from Thộ Xuân (Bai Thuong) in the north and Biên Hòa in the south of Vietnam.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Sukhoi Su-30MK2 similar to the 36 ordered by the Vietnam People’s Air Force (Image © Irkut)