The Angolan Air Force has bought 18 ex-Indian Air Force Su-30K Flanker fighter aircraft from Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, according to a Russian newspaper.
A report in Vedomosti yesterday said that the deal follows last week’s visit to Angola by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who facilitated arms deals worth $1 billion. Rogozin is responsible for Russia’s armaments industry and was visiting Angola as part of a tour including Brazil and Peru where he promoted weapons from tanks to air defence systems.
The $1 billion package with Angola is said to include the 18 Su-30s and spares for Mi-17 helicopters and other hardware already in service with Angola’s armed forces.
The Su-30s Angola will reportedly receive were offered to a number of other countries, including Belarus, Ethiopia, Vietnam and Sudan. Earlier this year, Russia was in discussions with Ethiopia to procure the aircraft, as Ethiopia already operates the Su-27, but this seems to have fallen through.
The Indian Air Force 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.
In June, Rosoboronexport deputy general director Alexander Mikheyev said that if a customer is willing to buy the Su-30s, Rosoboronexport is ready to repair, upgrade and deliver the aircraft within four to six months. At that time, four ex-Indian Su-30s were being refurbished.
Last year, at the time of the September Africa Aerospace and Defence show held outside Pretoria, Mikheyev said that Russia was ready to export Su-30s to Africa, especially to countries like Uganda, Angola and Ethiopia. Angola received six Su-30MK2 multirole fighters last year.
Rosoboronexport and Russia’s defence ministry have not yet made any comment on the Angolan deal.