The first batch of thrust-vectoring-equipped Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighters will be delivered to the Indian air force in June, according to the chairman of Irkut, Aleksei Fiodorov.

The batch consists of 10 aircraft assembled at Irkut's manufacturing centre, IAPO in Irkutsk, central Siberia. "The Sukhoi design bureau is completing certification of the aircraft. Delivery will take place soon after the certification is finished," Fiodorov says.

Meanwhile, IAPO has upgraded four Russian air force twin-seat Su-27UB Flankers to -27UBM and Su-30KN standards, which includes integration of precision guided munitions for improved ground attack capability and the Vympel R-77 (RVV-AE/AA-12 Adder) radar-guided medium-range air-to-air missile. "The yearly upgrade rate of 20-30 airframes is affordable and technically achievable for the air force," Fiodorov says.

In June, the Su-30KN Stage II will begin test-flying, equipped with the Su-27's original Tikhomirov NIIP N-001 radar but with the mechanical antenna replaced by the NIIP-developed Pero passive phased-array unit. IAPO is starting its own aircraft design bureau to co-ordinate the activities of other design bureaux working on the Su-30MK, Su-30KN/27UBM, Ilyushin Il-214/ Medium Transport Aircraft, Beriev Be-200 and other programmes.

Irkut, which is being created around IAPO, has acquired a controlling stake in Beriev. Last year Irkut acquired Russian Avionics and Itela companies.

Source: Flight International