RSK MIG and Sukhoi are in Crisis: Russian Offers Fighter Jet In Exchange of Palm Oil and Rubber

MiG-29K crashed in Goa, India. Photo by Indian Navy.

The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) of Russia has offered Malaysia an exchange deal featuring old fighter aircraft for new MiG-29M2 marketed as MiG-35 aircraft announced by Malaysian Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu in Malaysian Parliament.

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Sabu said the government is considering the offer from Moscow but indicated that the priorities of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) are in procuring capabilities such as surveillance and light attack. He also indicated that Malaysia would not realistically consider buying a new multirole combat aircraft until after 2030.

The Sknyliv air show disaster killed 77 people and injured 543. The pilot and the co-pilot were sentenced to 14 and 8 years in prison respectively for being guilty of failing to follow orders, negligence, and violating flight rules.

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The RMAF currently operates about 18 Su-30MKM fighters, which were delivered from 2007. The Su-30MKM are currently grounded due to lack of spare parts obtained from Russia. The RMAF has also recently retired what is believed to be 10 MiG-29s, which were operated from the mid-1990s.

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In parliament, Sabu was asked if Malaysia “is willing to accept the Russian government’s offer to take back 28 jets” and “replace them with new aircraft made by [Russia]”. The deal – reported to include the transfer of new Su-35 or MiG-35 models – would accept balance to be paid by countertrade of Malaysian palm oil.

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Sabu replied that although the acquisition of multirole combat aircraft “is not in the Ministry of Defence’s plans, it is still scrutinising the Russian government’s offer”.

Read more Indian Navy’s MiG-29K Engine Caught fire, pilots ejected safely

Despite earlier announcements of an agreement to procure the 11 Su-35s at the cost of $1.14 billion under a commodity deal (Indonesia offered up items such as palm oil, coffee, tea, and rubber), no firm contract is in place as of yet. This is largely due to Indonesian concerns about  U.S. CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) legislation regarding defense and/or intelligence-related transactions with Russia.

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Since Kashmir Skirmish, Indian Air Force rejected a proposal from HAL to buy 40 Su-30MKI aircraft, a joint venture between Indian HAL and Sukhoi Design Bureau. Indian Air Force favors additional French Rafale instead of Sukhoi Su-30MKI aircraft.

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Mikoyan Design Bureau currently ran out of order from foriegn customers since it received an order from Egyptian Air Force to supply 46 MiG-29M2 in April 2015.

Turkey has rejected a proposal from Rostec to manufacture Turkish variant of Su-57 in Turkey concerning immature technology of Su-57 with no clear roadmap from Russia.

Russia offered transfer of jet engine technology to China if China procures Su-57 but China never made decision on Su-57 as China already has an operational J-20 aircraft.

Last year, the Rosoboronexport of Russia failed to conclude a deal with Bangladesh Air Guard (Force) to supply eight Su-30SME concerning corruption cites local media of Bangladesh.

The Rosoboronexport of Russia failed to conclude deals to supply Su-57 to Vietnam and Myanmar.

There is no domestic demand for MiG-29M2 as RuAF took delivery of only two MiG-29M2 for flight test reported Russian Air Force rejected ideas to buy additional MiG-29M2 for Russian Aerospace Force. Although Russia ordered 76 su-57 aircraft, Russia intends to upgrade its fleet of Sukhoi aircraft and procure Su-35 until Su-57 becomes a mature products.

Under current financial conditions with no foreign buyers RSK MiG and Sukhoi’s future looks dismal, so for the desperate times, Russia is taking desperate measures to accept commodity as means of payments to sale Soviet-era Su-30, Su-35 and MiG–29M2.

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