According to Lenta.ru report a wide range of renowned experts has expressed their concerns regarding Belarus selected Russian-made combat aircraft to replace ageing Soviet-era MiG-29 fleet instead of American F-16 fighting falcon.
Andrey Porotnikov, BelarusSecurityBlog’s project leader, said that operating and support costs of Russian aircraft are more expensive than U.S.-made F-16 fighter aircraft.
Usually, the combat aircraft life-cycle cost for an estimated life of 35 years is 2-2.5 times its purchase price, as a result of which the total cost of maintenance of each Belarus’s Su-30SM will cost $100-125 million.
“And now, to sum up, the price of aircraft [about $ 50 million], the maintain of airworthiness and modernization. We get the amount from 185 to 210 million dollars for each (!) aircraft in the next 35 years.
And the squadron [12 aircraft], respectively, from 2.22 billion to 2.52 billion dollars. The amount is not small, ”- Andrey Porotnikov stated.
Another disadvantage of the fighter manufactured in Russia is its AL-31FP engines, which six units “eat” during the Su-30SM life cycle (two of them are already installed and paid for at the time of purchase).
This circumstance in the publication is explained by the fact that “Soviet (Russian) aircraft engines are traditionally inferior to Western ones not only in fuel efficiency but also in between-repairs and operating life cycles.”
“The Polish Air Force simultaneously operates the Soviet twin-engine fighter MiG-29 and the American single-engine F-16. It is assumed that the American fighter will fly off all 35 years with the same engine that was originally installed on it. Unfortunately, this does not work out with the MiG-29: eight engines will have to be replaced in the same period, ” explained analyst.
Belarussian Minister of Defense Andrei Ravkov said that Belarus plans to purchase several Su-30SM fighter jets from Russia, reports Interfax.
“The contract is concluded, and it is confirmed. I know that these four aircraft are manufactured now, and are almost ready, so if President Lukashenko makes a decision, they will be purchased in the prescribed manner,” he said.
The Minister noted that there are no specific delivery dates. “The contract was made on suspensive terms, linked to the availability of funding. As soon as the decision is made on financing, they will be purchased,” Ravkov stressed.
In the summer of 2017, the Ministry of Defense of Belarus reported that Belarus signed a contract for the purchase of a batch of Su-30SM fighters from Russia to upgrade its combat aircraft fleet. The original plan was to buy 12 aircraft. The contract price was not specified. In early 2019, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said that Belarusian armed forces will receive the first batch of Su-30SM fighters this year.