Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 13

Russian air force officials proudly revealed on January 18 that the test flights of the multi-role Su-32 jet fighter had been completed and that the "weapon of the next century" was ready for service. The plane — said to be superior to the American F-15 — is one of a whole series of derivatives of the successful Su-27 that are being developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau. Their designations run from Su-30 to Su-37. But while the Russian air force would dearly love to take delivery of the new plane, a senior officer noted that the service did not receive a single new jet last year and was unlikely to have the money to buy any this year. Both the Air Force and the plane builders are counting on foreign sales to pull them through this difficult time. (Itar-Tass, Interfax, January 19)

The good news from air force headquarters was tempered by last week’s crash in the Arkhangelsk region of one of Russia’s best all-weather interceptors. A MiG-31 was on a test flight following extended maintenance when it dove into the ground from a high altitude. Neither of the crewman have yet been found. (Itar-Tass, January 16) The MiG-31 — a large plane with impressive air defense capability — has been offered for export in the past without any takers.

Russia’s Defense Chief Praises Partnership with China.