MOSCOW, November 15 (RIA Novosti)The Malaysian defense ministry plans to buy 18 Russian Su-30MKM fighters fit to carry Russian-Indian BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, the Izvestia daily said on Tuesday. The paper said, citing military sources, that Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi plans on Tuesday to visit the Irkut aviation plant, producing Su-30MKI fighters for India. According to Izvestia, one such aircraft would cost Malaysia about $50 million, future maintenance included.
During the visit, the minister "may sign a contract to buy 18 Su-30MKM multirole fighters," the paper said.
The defense minister also plans to discuss installing new missiles, including BrahMos, on the 18 Su-30MKM fighters that Malaysia received in August 2009 under the $900-million contract signed in 2003.
Malaysia's mixed fighter fleet also includes Russian MiG-29N Fulcrum and the U.S.-made F/A-18D Hornet and F-5 Tiger in service.
The Su-30MKM is a multi-role Flanker version based on the Su-30MKI model and features a customized avionics package built to Malaysian specifications. Su-family fighters constitute the bulk of Russia's arms exports.