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Friday, December 01, 2006

Russia starts supplies of Su-30 fighters to Venezuela

MOSCOW: Russia has shipped the first two Su-30MK2 multi-role fighters to Venezuela under a contract signed in July 2006, an aircraft manufacturing industry official said Thursday.

Russia signed $1-billion contracts on supplies of 24 Su-30MK2 Flanker fighters and 30 helicopters to Venezuela prior to this year's visit to Russia by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, triggering criticism from Washington, which regards the Venezuelan regime as a potential security threat in the region.

"The first Su-30MK2 fighters for the Venezuelan air force have been transported to Moscow by an An-124 Condor transport plane, and later they will be shipped to Venezuela," the official said, adding that two more fighters will be delivered to the Latin American country by the end of 2006.

Russian-made fighters will substitute American F-16 and French Mirage fighters currently deployed by the Venezuelan air force.

The Su-30MK2 is an export version of a formidable Su-27 Flanker air-superiority fighter capable of accomplishing a wide variety of combat missions at significant distances from the home base, in any weather conditions and severe jamming environment, both by day and night.
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