The Angolan Air Force may acquire another six second hand Su-30 fighters, adding to the 12 it has already ordered.
This is according to an article in Russia’s Komersant newspaper, which reports that Angola is currently in early stage negotiations with Russia over the purchase of the ex-Indian Air Force aircraft.
The six aircraft are currently stored in Belarus at the 558th aircraft repair plant. The plant’s director, Pavel Pinigin, said during the recent MAKS 2017 air show that it is just a matter of time before the aircraft are sold.
Angola is apparently still waiting to receive its 12 Su-30K fighters, after ordering them in 2013 under a $1 billion deal. Deliveries were originally anticipated around 2015 but will apparently only take place later this year.
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. 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.
By the beginning of this year, none of the Su-30Ks had been delivered to Angola, and this may be because they are still being upgraded – according to ITAR-TASS, modification work includes improvements to the radar and navigation system and installation of a video recorder, amongst other items.
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.
Angola’s Air Force has ordered new helicopters and is refurbishing existing models – in June 2016 it was confirmed as a new customer for the A109E Power, with six having been ordered in 2015 for 90 million euros. The Angolan Air Force recently took delivery of two AW139 helicopters from Leonardo Helicopters and was due to receive refurbished Mi-24P attack helicopters from Russian Helicopters, which in 2015/2016 delivered eight armed Mi-171Sh helicopters to Angola as part of a deal signed with Rosoboronexport in 2013.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Angola ordered 12 Mi-24P attack helicopters in 2015. These are second hand machines modernised before delivery.