Russia will deliver 18 advanced combat aircraft to Malaysia in a deal concluded between the two countries during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s August 5 visit to the Southeast Asian country.
The estimated $900 million deal commits Russia to supplying 18 Su-30MKM fighter jets to Malaysia within the next few years. Malaysia will offset some of the cost of the long-range strike aircraft by providing palm oil to Russia.
Over the past few years, Malaysia has weighed buying the Su-30MKM and the U.S.-made F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which is also a combination air combat and ground strike fighter. Malaysia’s purchase of the Su-30MKMs does not rule out the possibility it might purchase Super Hornets in the future.
Malaysia’s air force is currently comprised of both Russian and U.S. fighter jets. Russia delivered 18 MiG-29N fighters to Malaysia in 1995. Two years later, the United States exported eight F/A-18D combat aircraft to the country.