YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenia is holding talks with Russia to buy more Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets for its armed forces, Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan said over the weekend.
“The acquisition of a new batch [of Su-30SM jets] is planned,” he said. “Negotiations are underway at the moment.”
Tonoyan, who most recently visited Moscow last week, gave no details of the negotiations.
In a significant boost to its small Air Force, Armenia has already purchased four such multirole jets at an undisclosed price. They were delivered to an airbase in Gyumri in December. Tonoyan said earlier in 2019 that Yerevan plans to acquire eight more Su-30SMs in the coming years.
Su-30SM is a modernized version of a heavy fighter jet developed by Russia’s Sukhoi company in the late 1980s. The Russian military first commissioned it in 2012.
Before receiving the first four Su-30SMs the Armenian Air Force largely consisted of 15 or so Su-25 aircraft designed for close air support and ground attack missions. The Armenian Defense Ministry contracted on August 24 a Russian defense company, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), to modernize some of these aging jets.