Russia will buy "tens" of Sukhoi Su-32 strike aircraft, says air force commander Gen Vladimir Mikhailov. Formerly known as the Su-27IB, the two-seat aircraft will be delivered in 2006-10, says Sukhoi general director Mikhail Pogosyan.

Funding for the purchase is allocated in Russia's "weapons programme 2002-10". The programme is now being revised to concentrate funds on the Su-32, Pogosyan says.

This year prototypes have made 130 flights in the military- qualification programme, in addition to 150 last year. The air force gave approval for production start in March this year. Airframe tests are complete, Mikhailov says, but the air force requested avionics and cockpit changes to bring the aircraft, which has been in development for many years, up to date.

The ninth pre-series aircraft has been completed with the revised systems and is being prepared for flight tests. Key Su-32 systems, such as the Leninets multimode radar with electronically scanned passive phased- array antenna, are being tested on a Tupolev Tu-134 testbed.

Source: Flight International