LANGKAWI /Malaysia/, March 26. /TASS/. Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighter jets will remain the mainstay of the Malaysian Air Force in the near future, a source in the country’s Air Force told TASS at the LIMA 2019 international arms show on Tuesday.
Malaysian media outlets earlier reported that Malaysia was likely to retire Russian-made Su-30MKM and MiG-29N fighter aircraft as the country was expected to adopt a new program of modernizing its Air Force and cut the number of the types of operational combat planes.
"At present, we are successfully operating Su-30MKM planes. They make up the backbone of fighter aircraft units in the Air Force and will keep the status of Malaysia’s basic combat planes in the foreseeable future," the source stressed.
At present, the Malaysian Armed Forces operate two squadrons of multipurpose combat planes, one of which consists of Russian-made Su-30MKM fighters and the other comprises US F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft, the source said.
"The structure of the two units will remain unchanged in the coming years. Moreover, we are currently talking efforts to maximally extend the service life of these platforms and simultaneously a possibility is being considered to modernize the Su-30MKMs," the source said, without giving any further details of the planes’ upgrade.
The long-term plan of developing the Malaysian Air Force stipulates keeping the two squadrons of multirole combat planes in its structure, the source said.
According to the data of open sources, the Malaysian Army operates 18 Su-30MKM fighter jets.