Seventy-six Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jets will be procured for the Russian airpower by 2028. A package contract will be inked in the near future, Russian President Vladimir Putin said opening the second meeting on defense issues this week.

Russia to procure 76 Su 57 jets 100 Mi 28NM helicopters Sukhoi Su-57 (Picture source: Russian air force)

"The 2028 arms program stipulated the purchase of 16 jets," Putin recalled. Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported that manufacturers reduced prices for both the aircraft and the equipment by 20%, which provided an opportunity to procure more jets. "We have agreed to purchase 76 aircraft without increasing prices in the same period of time," Vladimir Putin said. The Russian leader underlined that the national defense industry had not done anything like that in terms of the scale and on a new platform in 40 years. He expressed hope that the updated plans would be fulfilled. "In the near future we will sign a package contract to supply 76 such jets equipped with modern weapons and the necessary land infrastructure," Putin pointed out.

The president recalled that the industry is focusing on developing modern aviation equipment, which determines the combat capabilities of the Russian airpower for a decade to come. "Multipurpose Su-35S and Su-57 fighter jets are in the final testing stages," the Russian leader announced, emphasizing that their combat characteristics are the best in the world. He said that by 2028 it is vital to fully rearm three aviation regiments with the fifth-generation fighter jets.

Putin also stressed that the modernized Tu-160M bomber performed its first flight in February 2018. He also called to upgrade combat capabilities of existing military planes and helicopters. MiG-31 interceptor aircraft has been significantly reinforced. It was used to create Kinzhal missile. The president also believes that Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic bombers and Tu-22M long-range bomber should be gradually upgraded. "They should all have the capabilities to carry the latest cruise missiles and other weapons," Putin said.

The president set out the goal of delivering 100 upgraded helicopters Mi-28NM to the troops. "The helicopter fleet must be rapidly re-equipped with onboard defensive systems with improved characteristics and the most advanced increased-range weapons. A hundred upgraded combat helicopters Mi-28NM are to be delivered to the troops by 2028," the president said.

The engagement of Russian aircraft in Syria exposed some drawbacks in the technical condition and weapons. "I would like to draw your attention to the already well-known fact that it could have been impossible to expose them during range trials," Putin said noting that the defense enterprises were carrying out routine work to eliminate the uncovered drawbacks.

Putin pointed out that the most advanced and promising planes and helicopters were presented along with unmanned aerial vehicles during his visits to the defense enterprises in the cities of Kazan and Akhtubinsk. "I will underscore that preparations for serial production of the hardware have been done on schedule," he added. "I ask you to keep on acting without a hitch," the president said.

In the last five years, the Russian armed forces received over a thousand modernized helicopters and jets. "From 2013 to 2018, the troops were supplied with more than 1,000 new jets and helicopters," the president said. "As a result, more than 65% of the air fleet consists of modern aviation equipment."

In total, Putin said the Russian Air Force has more than 3,000 aircraft. A majority of them are multirole combat craft of long-distance tactical and army aviation. He pointed out that their combat capabilities were showcased in the course of the military operation in Syria.

The Russian leader also mentioned the Su-24M attack aircraft equipped with a new targeting and navigation system which can drop regular bombs and fire high-precision weapons. "Our task is to continue developing the military aviation, clearly adhere to all the set plans from supplying aviation equipment and last-generation weapons to the army to training the flying squads," Putin concluded.

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