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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Belarus Order Su-30SMs from Russia

Belarus and Russia have signed an agreement for the supply of Su-30SM fighter jets to the Belarusian Air Force.

Russia's director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Dmitry Shugayev told Tass News Agency on June 20, 2017 that the two sides had completed an agreement for the sale of Su-30SMs to Belarus.

Shugayev said, "The contract to supply a batch of Su-30SMs has been signed. It will take a few stages to be completed within the fixed timeframe."

He did not further specify the cost of the contract, the number of jets involved, or when they would be delivered.

Earlier this year, in February, Belarusian Major General Igor Lotenkov noted that Belarus anticipated completed the contract for Su-30SMs in 2017. It is believed that Belarus was interested in acquiring 12 jets, to replace its MiG-29s.

The order is much sooner than the timeframe suggested by the Chief of the Belarusian Air Force, Major General Oleg Dvigalev, in October 2015. He stated, "We are considering buying Su-30SM aircraft from Irkut Corporation. It may be done after 2020."

It is unclear if the signing of the contract entails that deliveries will come sooner than first indicated. Notably, Serbia's Defense Minister announced earlier in 2017 that Serbia would receive eight MiG-29s from Belarus as donations. All of these are due to be sent before the end of 2018, suggesting that Belarus will want to acquire at least some of the Su-30SMs before 2020.

In addition to the Su-30SM, Belarus may place another order for Yak-130s, to add to the eight in service.

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