Russia’s Western Military District to Receive Su-35, Su-30SM

The Western Military District Press Service confirmed they will receive a new squadron of Sukhoi Su-35 and Su-30SM before the end of 2015.

Russian Sukhoi Su-35
Russian Sukhoi Su-35

Sputnik International quoted the Press Service on the 2015 arms procurement program.

“By the end of 2015, a total 10 Su-35 and Su-30SM multirole jet fighters will be delivered to the air forces of the Western Military District under the 2015 arms procurement program,” the report read.

Russian Sukhoi Su-30
Russian Sukhoi Su-30

The 1st Air and Air Defence Forces Command, based in Voronezh, is under the command of the Western Military District. With bases near the Ukrainian border (Voronezh, Vyazma) and in the Murmansk Oblast (Monchegorsk), the Su-35 and Su-30SM are being strategically deployed to counter and intercept incoming NATO aircraft and provide air support in the region.

The deployment of the Su-35 4++ generation fighter on the Ukrainian border is most likely to bolster Russia’s air presence in the region. Adding to that, the Su-35 might act as a ‘muscle flexing’ strategy to possibly change NATO’s mind to further send more soldiers to provide training and assistance to the Ukrainian Army. The fact that Transnistria is being blockaded by Ukraine and Moldova might be another justification to deploy Russia’s newest generation of available aircraft.

It would be realistic to think that future goods transport to Transnistria will be conducted by the Russian Air Force. The Su-35 would then be ideal to escort the Russian transport plane through Ukrainian airspace, making it almost impossible to intercept and redirect the transport aircraft by NATO fighter aircraft.

Sukhoi Su-35S
Sukhoi Su-35S

Both the Su-30 and the Su-35 are formidable multirole fighters and will be a great addition to the Western Military District.

Since the production of the Russian 5th generation aircraft will start in 2017, the Russian Air Force has no choice to move its most advanced aircraft to its borders to counter NATO’s eastward march. In fact, even with the production of the Sukhoi T-50, commonly known as the PAK FA, the Su-35 and the Su-30 will remain Russia’s main aircraft for many years to come.

“It would be better for us to have a reserve of PAK-FA and the possibility to move ahead in the future to using the 4+ fighters’ [Su-30 and Su-35] capabilities to the maximum,” Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said.

The deployment of Su-30 and Su-35 in the Western Military District is interesting. It is, however, fairly difficult to confirm what kind of operation they will conduct with the current available information. Nevertheless, Russia is securing its Western border and the multirole fighters will be tools to defend the Russia’s Western territory.

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Jonathan Wade, CD

Jonathan Wade is the director of the ‘The Sentinel Analytical Group’ and a decorated veteran of the Canadian Forces. Specialized in tactical, strategic, intelligence and geopolitics analysis, Jonathan has a fondness for technical details. His military experience brought him valuable insight on the realities of conflicts and war. A combat veteran of Afghanistan, Jonathan brings in in-theatre experience. Jonathan writes about Russia, Canada and Arctic.