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Malaysia-Military Acquires 18 Russian Jets (20 May2003)

Malaysia plans to purchase 18 Sukhoi SU-30 fighter jets worth US$900 million (S$1.6 billion) as a result of the military's defence modernisation programme.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak stated that the agreement would be finalized by the end of the year, while the jets will arrive in mid 2006. He also said that the Sukhoi model is the most suitable as the aircraft have modified technical specifications to meet Malaysia's requirements.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov was on a two-day visit in Malaysia. The two defence ministers discussed on future collaborations in the area of defence. He said that Russia is ready for cooperation with Malaysia and ready to supply Malaysia with the sophistication of cutting edge technology.

Malaysia's current fleet is made up of 18 Russian MiG-29 fighters, eight FA-18D Hornets, seven f-5 Tigers and eight British Hawk jets.

This has been Malaysia's largest defence deal since spending RM6 billion (S$2.7 billion) last year on military hardware.