The Malaysian air force and Sukhoi have completed supplier selection for the customised Su-30MKM multirole fighter, excluding Malaysian companies from the supply chain and dropping MBDA's Mica short-range air-to-air missile (AAM) from the requirement, writes Vladimir Karnozov.

Aleksandr Barkovsky, Sukhoi's chief designer for the Su-30MKM, says all suppliers have been selected and "contracts signed with the majority of them", and that the remaining items will be chosen this year to coincide with the start of avionics and weapons integration. Thales will provide the aircraft's wide-angle head-up display, multimode liquid-crystal displays and thermal imaging pod, and Sagem its Sigma 95 navigation system. However, Malaysia has declined an offer to integrate Thales's TopSight helmet-mounted sight, opting for a less sophisticated Russian system and the Ukrainian-designed Sura-M helmet-mounted target designator.

Integration of the Mica missile has been dropped on cost grounds, says Barkovsky, who adds that the European design is still on offer to other potential Su-30MK customers, including Algeria and Thailand. The Su-30MKM's weapons fit has been limited to Russian systems already acquired for the Malaysian air force's RSK MiGMiG-29Ns, including R-73E and R-77 AAMs. Malaysia's 18 Su-30MKMs are all now in assembly at NPK Irkut's manufacturing site in Irkutsk, with the first six to be delivered in mid-2006 and the remainder to follow in 2007.

Meanwhile, Malaysia slashed an order with Russia's Rosoboronexport arms agency for 10 Mil Mi-171Sh transport helicopters to four aircraft in a move to curb spending. Kuala Lumpur is also revising and delaying its plans to licence build the aircraft.

Source: Flight International