Moscow: The Russian Air Force is planning to acquire over 1,500 combat jets in next decade as part of the military reforms to create a 'lean, but mean' force, a top commander said.
"By 2020 we plan to buy and modernise about 2000 combat jets and helicopters. This will include the acquisition of more than 1,500 aircraft including helicopters and another
400 platforms will be modernised," Deputy Air Chief Igor Sadofeyev was quoted as saying by Utro.ru web portal.
Gen Sadofeyev underscored that the Russian Air Force's smart and high-precision weapons would increase by 18 times and would comprise 70 percent of the total firepower by 2020.
According to the government-run RIA Novosti news agency, the Defense Ministry has already signed contracts for the purchase of 32 Su-34 (Fullback) front-line bombers through 2013, 48 Su-35 fighters through 2015, 12 Su-27 SM (Flanker) fighters through 2011, four Su-30M2 (Flanker C) aircraft through 2011, and 12 Su-25 UBM trainer aircraft.
This year the Defense Ministry plans to sign a contract for the delivery of 26 MIG-29K (Fulcrum) fighters by 2015 for the aircraft carriers.
It is also expected to sign additional contracts for the purchase of at least 80 Su-34 (Fullback) fighter-bombers and 24-48 Su-35 (Flanker- E) fighters.
All in all, these purchases will amount to about 240-260 aircraft.
Contracts for the purchase of another 100-110 aircraft are likely to be awarded to the Sukhoi design bureau for the T-50 fifth generation fighter and other Sukhoi aircraft.
The Defense Ministry also has plans to buy a long list of helicopters - primarily the Mi-28H (Havoc) and Ka-52 Hokum B attack choppers.
By 2020, their numbers are likely to swell to 200-250 and 50-60, respectively, while different Mi-8 (Hip) versions will remain the backbone of the transport and combat fleet.
Their serial production was launched in the 1960s and will continue for at least two more decades.
The fleet of light helicopters previously represented by the Mi-2 (Hoplite) will be renovated - and the Mi-2 will be replaced with the light Ansat trainer and the multi-purpose Ka-60 Kasatka (Orca).
In his state of the nation address on November 30, President Dmitry Medvedev told parliament that Russia is to invest 20 trillion roubles (about USD 600 billion) till 2020
on defence research and development and modernisation of the armed forces.
First Published: Sunday, December 05, 2010, 18:41