Algeria interested in Su-34s


Algeria is negotiating with Russia over the purchase of Su-34 strike aircraft, with around 12 apparently being considered.

Sergei Smirov, the director of the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association (NAPO) plant, which manufactures the aircraft, told Russian business daily Vedomosti on 30 December that talks have resumed on the export of Su-32 bombers (export designation of the Su-34) to Algeria after eight years of negotiations. He said that recently Rosoboronexport had received an official application to supply the aircraft.

The Su-34 has been extensively used in Syria by the Russian Air Force, which has received 83 so far but is expected to sign up for another 100 or so in the next few years. An initial 32 were ordered in 2008, followed by 100 in early 2012. They will eventually replace the Sukhoi Su-24 strike aircraft. At least eight are believed to have been deployed to Syria.

The Su-34 is a versatile strike and interdiction aircraft, able to carry a wide range of guided and unguided weapons up to eight tons in addition to a 30 mm cannon. It has full air-to-air combat capability, and can carry R-73 and R-77 short and long range air-to-air missiles. Air-to-ground ordnance includes Kh-59ME, Kh-31A, Kh-31P, Kh-29T, Kh-29L and S-25LD guided weapons.

Talk of a Su-34 order from Algeria comes after Algeria ordered 14 Su-30 fighter jets from Russia’s Irkut, which will augment the 44 Su-30MKs the country has in service. Sergei Chemezov, the head of Russian defence technology holding company Rostec, said in September 2015 that the contract was signed near the beginning of that year. He said the Algerian aircraft would be delivered in 2016 and 2017.

Algeria received 28 Su-30s as part of a 2006 contract and another 16 under a 2010 contract. It appears the 16 aircraft in the second batch were delivered to replace 15 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29SMT fighters Algeria returned to Russia after declaring them “defective.”

The Su-30MKA operated by Algeria is a specialised variant of the Su-30MK fitted with a mix of French and Russian avionics. The former includes a head-up and multifunction displays manufactured by the Thales Group and Sagem of France.

The primary combat aircraft in Algeria’s Air Force are a dozen MiG-25s, 23 MiG-29C/UBs and around 34 Su-24M/MKs.

Algeria is expanding its Air Force and in June last year took delivery of the first of six Mi-26T2 helicopters from Russia and has ordered another eight of the type. The North African country has also ordered 42 Mi-28NE attack helicopters.

Algeria surpassed South Africa in 2009 as the largest defence market in Africa with a total spending of $51.5 billion over the last five years, according to Strategic Defence Intelligence. This is expected to increase to $92 billion over the next five years, with $28 billion being allocated for capital procurements.