Russia’s air force modernization program is on track and the service expects to take delivery of some 150 new-build and modernized combat aircraft by the end of this year, Russia’s state-run Sputnik news service reports. “Since 2012, we have received more than 300 planes and helicopters. By the end of the year, we will receive another 150 aircraft. By the end of 2020, their number will be 1,000,” Russian air force chief Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said in the Aug. 14 press report. Deliveries this year include the latest single and two-seat Su-35 Flanker fighter variants, Su-34 Fullback multi-role strike bomber, upgraded Su-25 Frogfoot attack aircraft, and Yak-130 light attack-trainers, according to the report. Rotary-wing procurement includes the latest Ka-52 and Mi-28 attack helicopters. The Russian air force plans to introduce its stealthy fifth-generation T-50 PAK-FA into service next year, and begin replacing its legacy MiG-29s with the redesigned and updated MiG-35. The lightweight MiG-35 fighter incorporates new Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, more powerful engines, and enhanced reliability over its predecessor. Russia also announced plans to begin developing a replacement for its Mach-2.35 cruise-capable MiG-31 interceptor in 2019, according to the press. (See Russia?n Airpower Almanac to read more.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.