Irkut has received a production order to supply the Russian air force with 30 Sukhoi Su-30SM multirole fighters, with the contract having been signed by Russian defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

A twin-seat derivative of the Su-30MKI already flown by the Indian air force, the SM includes new features such as identification friend-or-foe equipment.

Intended to replace some of Russia's ageing Su-24 bombers, the type is to provide support for the navy's Black Sea fleet, using its 800nm (1,500km) combat range.

The Su-30SM can carry a maximum weapons load totalling 8t, with the Russian navy planning to arm it with the NPO Mashinostroyenia Yakhont anti-ship missile, which has a maximum range of 162nm.

 Su-30SM - Vladimir Karnozov

© Vladimir Karnozov

Aircraft deliveries are expected to take place between 2013 and 2015, according to Irkut. Company president Alexey Fedorov suggested last year that the Russian air force could buy 28 of the fighters, with an option for 12 more.

The Su-30SM order follows two other major contracts signed in late February, which cover the future delivery of 92 Su-34 bombers and 24 RAC MiG-29K/KUB carrier-based fighters for the Russian air force and navy, respectively.

Source: Flight International