The transformation of the Royal Malaysian Air Force received a significant boost yesterday, with the service accepting its first two of 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKM multi-role fighters. The aircraft were handed over during a ceremony at the Irkut Aviation plant’s manufacturing facility in Russia attended by RMAF Gen Datuk Seri Azizan Ariffin.

Kuala Lumpur signed a $900 million deal with Russia’s Rosoboronexport arms agency in 2003 to acquire the new Su-30MKM fleet, which will join its air force’s current 16 RSK MiG-29 interceptors.

Video from Malaysia’s TV3 news channel shows one of the Malaysian aircraft carrying models of Russian-sourced Vympel AA-10 (R-27) and AA-11 (R-73) medium-range air-to-air missiles.

The second video demonstrates a flying display without stores. Similar to India’s Su-30MKIs, the RMAF aircraft are powered by two thrust vectoring Saturn AL-31F turbofans. The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of almost 35t, including an 8t weapons load, an operating ceiling of 56,700ft (17,300m) and a top speed of Mach 2.

Malaysia’s current combat aircraft fleet also includes eight Boeing F/A-18D Hornets, Northrop F/RF-5E/Fs and single-seat BAE Systems Hawk 208s.

View a video of the Sukhoi Su-30MKM roll-out