Yangon, Apr 26: Russia has started assembling of six SU-30SM fighter jets for Myanmar that was signed between the two countries last year, according to Russian media on Wednesday.
In 2018, Russia and Myanmar signed a contract for the supply of six Su-30SM fighter jets. The deal was worth at least 204 million dollar.
Myanmar's military commander-in-chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing said " Russia’s military hardware was “very useful” for his military in key locations in Myanmar. Sen-Gen. Min Aung Hlaing personally inspected the production of the planes at Irkustsk Aviation Plant on April 23.
Before the Russia tour, he traveled to China and visited an armored vehicle training school in Beijing and met with senior officers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on April 11, The Irrawaddy reported.
The Myanmar Air Force (MAF) has the MiG-29B and the PAC/CAC JF-17 Thunder. Russia supplied 31 MiG-29s, including six newer MiG-29SE models between 2001 and 2012.
So far, Myanmar’s purchases of Russian military hardware include MiG-29 fighter jets, Yak-130 combat trainers, Mi-17, Mi-24 and Mi-35 combat helicopters and other weapons. According to defence blogs, Myanmar has 20 MiG-29D planes and as of 2018, Moscow had delivered a total of 12 Yak-130 combat training aircraft to the Tatmadaw.
China has been the main supplier of combat aircraft for Myanmar. It supplied the Chengdu F-7M and Nanchang A-5C since the start of the 1990s. In 2015, as part of MAF’s fleet modernization, Myanmar ordered 16 JF-17 Thunders and a dozen Yakovlev Yak-130 trainers. The Su-30SM 4+ generation fighter jet is capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions with a wide variety of precision-guided munitions and it can carry about 9 tons of ammunition at one time.
In the past the Myanmar Air force has sustained many losses in recent years. In October, 2018 a sixth-grade girl and two pilots were killed when a pair of military planes crashed in Magwe Region’s Minbu Township. In April, 2018, an F-7 fighter from Toungoo Airbase also crashed, killing the pilot. The F-7 is a version of the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 licensed and built by China.
In September 2017, a military G-4 jet fighter from Pathein Airbase crashed about 19 km from Rakhine State’s Gwa Township. Two pilots died in the accident. (UNI)