Sukhoi Su-30MK2 fighters of Uganda Air Force to be maintained by HAL Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd

According to The Independent, Uganda has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with India for the maintenance and technical support of the Sukhoi Su-30MK2 fighter jets Uganda purchased from Russia more than a decade ago. The MoU was signed on March 4 at the Indian High Commission in Kampala. Lt. Gen. Charles Lutaaya, Commander of Air Force in the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF), signed on behalf of Uganda.

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Sukhoi Su 30MKI fighters of Uganda Air Force to be maintained by HAL Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd Uganda People’s Defence Air Force (UPDAF) operates 6 Sukhoi Su-30MK2 fighters (Picture source: UPDAF via Aleksandar Vladic)

The maintenance will be done by the Indian state-owned aerospace and defence company, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), The Independent reports, as the Indian company has a manufacturing license from Russia to build the fighter aircraft. The Indian High Commission on its Twitter account said the deal was the first major defence agreement with Uganda following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unveiling of ’10 Principles of India-Africa Engagement’ in the Ugandan Parliament on July 25, 2018. Financial details of the deal remain a secret but the arrangement is raising debate among military analysts about the future of these Sukhoi Su-30MK2s.

As reported by Aleksandar Vladic, in April 2010, Russian state arms export agency Rosoboronexport signed a preliminary agreement with Uganda for six Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter jets. But protracted negotiations, particularly over price, meant that a deal worth a reported US$740 million was only signed in May 2011. Su-30MK2 Uganda Air Force numbers: AF 011, AF 015, AF 019, AF 023, AF 027, AF 031. The first two aircraft were delivered in July 2011 (aircraft with tail numbers AF 011 and AF 015), followed by another two in October 2011 (AF 019 and AF 023). On 30 May 2012, the final two Su-30MKs were delivered (AF 027 and AF 031).

The aircraft, based at Entebbe, can carry air-to-air missiles as well as various general-purpose bombs for air-to-ground missions.

The Sukhoi Su-30MK2 fighter jets are arguably Uganda’s most prized military asset, Ther Independent comments. The country however has not routinely used them in its military adventures in the region where its operations have at once stretched from DR Congo to Central African Republic and Somalia in a period spanning ten years.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is Uganda’s most engaging military enterprise currently in its 15th year of operation. Although it is essentially a peacekeeping mission, Ugandan troops have many times engaged in offensive warfare to deal with the deadly Al Shabaab terrorists in retaliatory attacks in fierce battles in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, and other parts in the Horn of Africa country. But Sukhoi jets are not even used in AMISOM operations, Kakurungu and another military source familiar with AMISOM operations told The Independent. However, the six Su-30MK2s reportedly launched airstrikes against opposition forces in South Sudan.


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