MOSCOW, December 24 (RIA Novosti) – Russian aerobatic teams the Swifts and the Russian Knights will receive new Su-30SM and Su-35C fighter jets ahead of regular Russian Air Force units, the force’s commander Viktor Bondarev said on Monday.
“When we wrap the preliminary troop tests of these two airplanes, they will be supplied [to the teams] on an advance basis,” Bondarev said at a press conference in the Moscow Region.
Bondarev did not specify a timeframe. His statement echoes last week’s comment from Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who also said the teams should fly Su-30SM and Su-35C, but did not elaborate.
The Swifts currently fly the MiG-29 and the Russian Knights Su-27. Pilots have complained that some of the jets have been in use for more than 20 years and should have been decommissioned long ago.
The media reported earlier that the teams may be made to fly the Yak-130 combat trainer instead. Bondarev denied it, but said a separate team would be formed for the Yak-130.
The Russian Air Force, which currently has two Su-30SM, is planning to receive up to 50 Su-35C jets by 2015 and 30 Su-30SM by 2016.