Malaysia may buy 18 Su-30 jet fighters from Russia
On Wednesday, Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi visited a plant of the Irkut corporation, Russian aircraft manufacturer, in the city of Irkutsk in Siberia. During his visit he said that Malaysia may buy several Su-30 jet fighters from Russia. The sum of the potential deal is estimated at $900 million. Hamidi added that Malaysia may also buy Yak-130 advanced jet trainer/light attack aircraft, which are also assembled at this plant.
On Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov held talks with his Malaysian counterpart Ahmad Hamidi discussing joint projects in the field of military technical cooperation.
In 1994, Malaysia bought 18 MiG-29 jet fighters from Russia. The deal marked Russia’s return to the global arms market after an actual absence there in 1992-1994, Ruslan Pukhov, Director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said in an interview with the “Voice of Russia”:
"At that very time Russia’s arms exports began to show dynamic growth up from the sum of $1.5 billion and by now they have reached $10 billion a year. Malaysia is especially important for Russia also because unlike China, India, Algeria or Syria it has never been our traditional client. Since it became independent Malaysia has always eyed Western arms and now finally it has shown interest in the Russian production. In 2000-s, Malaysia and Russia signed a contract for buying 18 Su-30 jet fighters, more powerful and more expensive aircraft. Now it is great to hear that in addition to those 18 planes they also want to buy the advanced modification of Su-30, which carries powerful BraMos anti-ship missiles jointly produced by Russia and India."
According to the expert, the contract’s signing may mean that Malaysia will probably become the first foreign client to buy BraMos systems. Until recently Russia has been selling BraMos only to India.
In order to successfully promote the BraMos system on the global market Russia needs a launch customer. The deal on supplying Su-30 combat planes to Malaysia will also strengthen Russia’s position in South Eastern Asia in general, Pukhov stressed:
"Now Su-30 planes are present in the arsenal of Vietnamese, Indian and Malaysian air forces. However an additional supply will lead to additional purchases by a number of neighboring countries."
For the Irkut corporation the deal means a long-term capacity unitization and an opportunity to make additional investments into the development of MC-21 new generation aircraft. All this will mean higher prestige of our country on the international arena, where Su-30 jet fighters are in great demand.