Acting Armenian Defense Minister David Tonoyan announced on Monday, November 12, at a press conference in Yerevan that his country is negotiating the purchase of Russian fighter jets. “Yes, these will be Su-30s,” he responded when asked which fighters were being discussed.
Tonoyan also said that no decision has been made to buy Swedish multipurpose Saab JAS-39 Gripen fighters for the Armenian Air Force, despite reports in the media. However, he did note that Yerevan has received an offer “from another [foreign] partner”.
Shortly before the change in government in Armenia, the country’s Defense Ministry postponed the possibility of buying Russian multipurpose Su-30SM fighters until 2024. The project, which envisages the sale of at least one squadron of the fighters to the Armenian Air Force, was signed in 2012, but has not yet been brought into effect due to financial difficulties on the buyer’s side. This was reported by the Russian news outlet Kommersant, which also noted that Russia is expecting to implement the agreement ahead of schedule with Armenia’s new leaders.
On June 17, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan took a photograph from the cockpit of a Su-30SM, which he later uploaded to Facebook. “In the cockpit of one of the best fighters in the world. I’m already in Yerevan,” the Armenian leader wrote. The photograph was taken at the Erebuni Airport, which houses the Russian 3624th Air Base where the Armenian Prime Minister returned to after visiting the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
The Su-SM 4+ generation (modernized serial) is designed to dominate fights in the air and to attack ground targets using high-precision modern weapons under both clear and challenging weather conditions.