Tag Archives: Irkut

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)

Fleet-size upgrade Belarusian Air Force

The Belarusian Air Force started to upgrade almost its entire fleet of aircraft. The most ambitious part: to replace the 24 older MiG-29s “Fulcrum” combat jets with state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-30SM “Flanker” aircraft between 2020 and 2030.

Airbrake out on this Belarusian Yak-130 (Image © Irkut)
RELATED POST: Belarus attack strategy – team up Yak-130 with Su-25

During a meeting with journalist from Belarusian state press agency BelTA Major-General Oleg Dvigalev, Chief of Staff of the Belarusian Air Force and Air Defence, said that his people already test-flew the Su-30SM during the recent MAKS International Airshow in Moscow.

Although the general did not say how many Flankers he would like the buy, we at Airheadsfly.com believe that the 13 MiG-29s upgraded to BM standard in the early 2000s will stay a bit longer, while up to 18 Su-30SMs will be purchased. The number is based on earlier statements by the Belarusian military leadership.

Rotary wing
Meanwhile the country’s rotary wing of 20 Mil Mi-35 attack helicopters and 5 Mi-26 heavy-lift choppers is expecting a boost with the arrival of 12 Mi-8MTV-5 choppers, the first six in 2016 and the second batch in 2017. They are an upgraded version of the 18 to 25 Mi-8/Mi-17s the Belarusian Air Force has already on strength and are expected to replace some of them.

Airlift and attack
One of the two Ilyushin IL-76 strategic airlifters is currently being brought back to airworthy status, while the second batch of four Yakovlev Yak-130 light attack and advanced jet trainers has been ordered some time ago. The backbone of the Belarusian Air Force’s ground attack capacity, between 40 and 68 operational Sukhoi Su-25 “Frogfoot” jets, will remain in service – as well as two to four Antonov An-26 transport aircraft and a handful of Mil Mi-2 utility helicopters.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): The Sukhoi Su-30SM (Cy-30CM) during a test flight (Image © Irkut)

Belarus attack strategy: team up Yak-130 with Su-25

The Belarusian Air Force is implementing a new strategy to make its ground attack raids more successful. With the introduction of the new and modern Yak-130 advanced jet trainer in the light attack role, the Eastern European military sees new possibilities by teaming the new aircraft up with the older Sukhoi Su-25 “Frogfoot”.

On paper such a combined package looks rather good. The highly maneuverable Yak-130 with its contemporary sensors and newer navigation systems in theory serves as an excellent fast armed recon, forward air controller, targeting aircraft and light attack aircraft, while the older Su-25 brings it an impressive weapon capacity of up to 8,800 lbs (4,000 kg) on 11 hardpoints. Not that the Yak-130 by itself is so bad with up to 6,600 lbs (3,000 kg) on 9 hardpoints.

A Belarusian Air Force Yak-130 armed to the teeth (Image © Irkut)
A Belarusian Air Force Yak-130 armed to the teeth (Image © Irkut)
The first batch of four Yak-130 of the Belarusian Air Force at the flightline during the official ceremony of introduction (Image © Irkut)
The first batch of four Yak-130 of the Belarusian Air Force at the flightline during the official ceremony of introduction (Image © Irkut)
Airbrake out on this Belarusian Yak-130 (Image © Irkut)
Airbrake out on this Belarusian Yak-130 (Image © Irkut)
A pair of Russian Air Force Su-25s (Image © Russian Ministry of Defence)
A pair of Russian Air Force Su-25s similar to the ones in use by the Belarusian Air Force (Image © Russian Ministry of Defence)

With four Yak-130s delivered an another four on their way, Minks sees a package of a package of one Yak-130 and one Su-25, or two of each in a four pack, as the attack element of choice when it comes to engaging ground targets or performing close-air support.

The first tests of the new tactic with the combination of both planes took place in the beginning of September. The Yak-130 carried out the navigation, and the Su-25 came in for the kill.

Irkut of Russia is expected to deliver the second batch of four Yakovlev-designed Yak-130 in 2016 to the Belarusian Air Force. The country keeps an official strenght of 68 Su-25s, with an estimated third to half of the fleet fully operational and the rest in various stages of maintenance or repair.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by Irkut
Featured image (top): A Belarusian Yak-130 (Image © Irkut)

Russia: “Fourteen more Flankers for Algeria”

Algeria is said to be buying fourteen more Su-30 Flankers from Russia in a deal that was apparently already signed earlier this year. The aircraft come on top of 44 Flankers purchased in 2006 and 2010.

The Flankers for Algeria are designated Su-30MKA and are slated for delivery in 2016 and 2017. The deal was announced by Rostec, the Russian state weapons manufacturing organisation.

Irkut will build the aircraft in its factories in Siberia, where production is also ongoing for the Russian Air Force and for the Navy (8 Su-30SM) and where Russia’s next-generation Yak-130 advanced jet trainer and light combat aircraft is produced.

The 58 state-of-the-art Flanker jets will help the Algerian Air Force (Al Quwwat aljawwiya aljaza’eriiya) to modernise and expand its fleet. The air defence of the North African nation is currently in the hands of 10 to 13 Soviet-era Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 “Foxbat” interceptors and 28 to 32 MiG-29 “Fulcrum” fighters. The remaining combat force is formed by about 20 operational Sukhoi Su-24 “Fencer” interdictor/strike/bomber aircraft.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editors Elmer van Hest and Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Sukhoi Su-30 (Image © Irkut)

Russia to militarize the brand-new MS-21 airliner

Russia is to militarize the brand-new MS-21 (MC-21 in Russian) airliner under development with Irkut as lead, sources in Moscow and at the Paris Air Show (PAS15) have confirmed. Like with the Boeing 737 turned into the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol and airborne surveillance platform, the Russian military is reportedly keen to do the same thing with the new flagship civilian airliner.

The Russian Ministry of Defence is or will soon order 30 to 45 MS-21. They are to start replacing its aging Tupolev Tu-134 and Tu-154 aircraft serving as VIP/transport aircraft. The Tupolevs also provide specializations. The UBL version, for example, flies as a bomber trainer operating from Tambov Airbase with as many as 30 believed to be operational. The Russian Air Force reportedly still has 9 Tu-134s and 17 Tu-154s operational for passenger duties.

With the first MS-21 being assembled since April 2015, Irkut is already focusing on getting more orders by adding military configurations to the Magistralny Samolyot 21 (MS-21 or “Carbon Fibre” plane).

As a civilian airliner the MS-21 might snoop up future orders from f.ex. Aeroflot that would otherwise go to Boeing or Airbus.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Computer rendering of the Irkut MC-21 / MS-21 (Image © United Aircraft Corporation)