Russian military aviation exports reach 800 combat aircraft

Russia has exported more than 800 combat aircraft since late 2000, a spokesperson for JSC Rosoboronexport (a subsidiary of state corporation Rostec) told the TASS news agency on November 23.

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Russian military aviation exports reach 800 combat aircraft Rosoboronexport is planning to add the Mil Mi-28NE attack helicopter to the export market (Picture source: Army Recognition)

“For 20 years of its activities, Rosoboronexport has supplied some 800 combat aircraft to 19 countries and about 1,100 military-grade and commercial helicopters to 46 countries. The company’s military aviation sales have amounted to approximately USD85 billion,” he said on November 23.

The spokesperson noted that Rosoboronexport is planning to introduce Sukhoi Su-57E 5th-generation multirole combat aircraft, Kamov Ka-52K marinized attack helicopter, and upgraded Mil Mi-28NE attack rotorcraft to the global arms market in the coming years.

The Rosoboronexport’s portfolio of fixed-wing combat aerial platforms includes two principal items, namely, Sukhoi Su-30 (NATO reporting name: Flanker-H) multirole combat aircraft and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 (Fulcrum) tactical fighter jet. India is reported to be the largest operator of the Su-30: the platform forms the backbone of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) combat aviation units. The IAF is now flying more than 270 Su-30MKIs. Moreover, the Su-30MKI features high potential for further modernization: the IAF and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have armed the aircraft with a prototype of the newest BrahmosS-A (‘A’ for Air-launched) air-launched cruise missile (ALCM). The platform therefore has become the first Indian combat air platform armed with an indigenous ALCM. Moreover, India runs a large program to manufacture the Lyulka AL-31FP turbofan engines for its Su-30MKIs.

The Su-30SME is the latest member of the Su-30 family of export-oriented multirole combat aircraft. The fighter jet is an analogue of Sukhoi Su-30SM aircraft, which is being operated by the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS).

The MiG-29 tactical fighter is also in high demand on the global arms market. Its latest iteration, the MiG-35, broke cover at the MAKS 2019 international aerospace show held in August 2019 in Zhukovskiy near Moscow.

The Rosoboronexport’s aviation portfolio is primarily built of Mil Mi-17V-5/Mi-171Sh (Hip-H) utility rotorcraft, Mil Mi-26T2 (Halo) super-heavy transport helicopters, Mil Mi-35M (Hind-E) gunships, Mi-28NE (Havoc-B) ‘Night Hunter’ attack helicopters, and Kamov Ka-52 (Hokum-B) combat-reconnaissance helicopters. In recent years, the company has brought to the market Kamov Ka-226T (Hoodlum) light utility helicopter. A deal to produce the Ka-226T under license in India was signed several years ago; the program is now waiting for final approval of the Indian side. Therefore, the Hoodlum will be manufactured by a joint venture in India under license.

Rosoboronexport’s rotary-wing assets have recently been reinforced with the newest Mil Mi-38T utility rotorcraft. According to the company’s press department, the first contract for deliveries of this platform to a foreign customer has already been signed.

It should be mentioned that the company has also exported helicopters for works in the Arctic areas: some ten years ago, a batch of Mi-171E utility rotorcraft modified for the Arctic was handed over to Argentine. Rostec’s Russian Helicopters holding has developed the Mil Mi-8AMTSH-VA for extreme cold environments, and the corporation may unveil the export-oriented variant of this rotorcraft in near future.

According to the World Air Forces 2020 report issued by the Flight Global magazine, Russia’s Sukhoi Su-27/30 'Flanker' multirole combat aircraft holds the second position in the rating of the world’s most popular fighter jets.

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