Belarus Becomes Inaugural Customer for Russian Su-30SM2 Aircraft

The country acquired 12 Su-30SM jets for $600M in 2017, but a contract for the upgraded SM2 version remained undisclosed until now.
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  • 09:49 AM, June 6, 2024
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Belarus Becomes Inaugural Customer for Russian Su-30SM2 Aircraft
An under-production Su-30SM2 fighter at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant, with the Belarusian flag nearby @Russian Arms

Production of Su-30SM2 aircraft for Belarus has commenced at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation.

The Russian Arms telegram channel posted pictures of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant on June 5, walking next to the Su-30SM2 aircraft. While the contract has not been officially announced, images of the aircraft fuselage with a Belarusian flag next to it were seen at the Irkutsk plant during the visit of Lukashenko.

The Russian Arms telegram channel further added, "At the facilities of the Irkutsk Aviation Plant, serial production of the Su-30SM2 multirole fighters continues in the interests of the Belarusian Air Force."

A contract valued around $600 million for 12 Su-30SM fighters was signed by Belarus back in 2017, and the country received the first batch two years later. The aircraft are currently based at the 61st fighter airbase in Baranovichi.

Despite repeated announcements from the Belarusian defense ministry regarding plans to receive the second batch of aircraft over the past five years, Russia has not yet delivered the second batch. The most recent announcement was made in February 2024.

There has been no official confirmation of the country's order for the SM2 aircraft. Belarus may not receive SU-30SM2 fighters until 2025-2026, as per reports.

Belarus Becomes Inaugural Customer for Russian Su-30SM2 Aircraft
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko walks next to Su-30SM2 fighter at Irkutsk Aviation Plant on June 5, 2024

The Su-30SM2 is an upgraded version of the Su-30SM aircraft, featuring the AL-41F-1S engine from the Su-35 and a more powerful Irbis radar. The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) revealed the Su-30SM2 at the Army 2023 show, indicating that all future Su-30s will be of the SM2 upgraded version.

One of the key advantages of these aircraft is their equipment with promising airborne radar systems N035 Irbis-E, capable of detecting targets with a radar cross-section of 0.07 square meters at distances ranging from 130 to 145 km. The N035 radar systems and OLS-35 optical-electronic sighting systems will facilitate the detection and tracking of British stealth tactical missiles "Storm Shadow" and American JASSM.

Belarus Becomes Inaugural Customer for Russian Su-30SM2 Aircraft
AL-41F-1S engine @Wikipedia
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