MINSK, Belarus, Oct. 21 (UPI) — The Belarusian Defense Ministry is planning to replace its fleet of MiG-29 fighter jets with Russian-made Su-30SM multi-role fighters after 2020.
“Naturally the existing aviation fleet, particularly fighter jets MiG-29, is getting outdated. It is time to decide on replacing these aircraft. We are considering buying Su-30SM aircraft from Irkut Corporation. It may be done after 2020,” Chief of the Belarusian Air Force and Air Defense Major-General Oleg Dvigalev told Blearus News.
The Sukhoi Su-30 is a highly maneuverable multi-role fighter suitable for most weather conditions, ideal for air-to-air and air-to-surface combat missions. The Su-30SM stems from the earlier Su-37UB model. The aircraft can carry guided missiles, dumb bombs and various other weapons, and is crewed by two people. The jets are capable of flying for over 1,860 miles at a time, able to go without being refueled for over three hours.
Su-30SM’s are currently in use by the Russian military for their intervention in Syria as Moscow continues to support for President Bashar al-Assad in the regime’s battle against both the dissenting Free Syrian Army and the Islamic State, Sunni radical militants also identified as Daesh and by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL.
The Russian defense ministry released a video shot from inside a cockpit of the SU-30SM following a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone over Syria.