AFRICANGLOBE – The Angolan Air Force will receive its first two upgraded Su-30K fighter jets from Russia in November and December this year, with the remaining ten to be delivered in 2016.
This is according to a representative from the 558th Aviation Repair Plant at Baranovichi in Belarus who spoke to Russian news agency ITAR-TASS at the Army 2015 exhibition near Moscow earlier this month.
The representative said that the entire batch of aircraft will have been delivered by the end of 2016. They are currently being upgraded. Upgrade work, according to ITAR-TASS, includes improvements to the radar and navigation system and installation of a video recorder, amongst other items.
In October 2013 it was reported that Angola had purchased 18 former Indian Air Force Su-30Ks from Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport as part of a $1 billion arms deal involving the fighters, spares and other hardware. However, in February last year Irkut Corporation clarified that only 12 aircraft were involved in the deal. The company is still attempting to sell the remaining six.
The aircraft were formerly operated by the Indian Air Force, which has ordered more than 200 Su-30MKIs in a number of batches. The early models delivered were basic aircraft without features like canards and thrust vector controls, and it is these 18 early model aircraft (ten Su-30MK and eight Su-30K fighters delivered between May 1997 and December 1999) that were returned to Russia and replaced with more advanced Su-30MKIs.
India had intended to upgrade these early aircraft but instead used them as part-exchange for new aircraft. According to Air Forces Daily, they were retired in 2006 and sent to the 558th Aircraft Repair Plant at Baranovichi in Belarus between August and November 2011. They remain at Baranovichi as the property of Irkut Corporation, which said the remaining six will be sold to another country.
The Angolan Air Force currently flies around half a dozen Su-27s, out of 18 originally delivered. It also has other Sukhoi aircraft in its inventory, notably the Su-22 and Su-24.