In August 2003, Malaysia signed a $900 million contract with Irkut Corp. for 18 SU-30MKMs. Malaysia flies the F/A-18D Hornet, and was offered Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, but chose the SU-30MKM instead. The SU-30MKM is an advanced variant, whose performance involves considerable improvements over SU-30MK/MKK fighters. Their fighter fleet will now consist of R/F-5E/F Tiger IIs (to be phased out), F/A-18D Hornets, MiG-29 Fulcrums (until 2015), and SU-30MKMs. The results from their internal training and air combat exercises would be interesting, to say the least.
On May 24/07, a rollout and demonstration ceremony was held for the first 2 Su-30MKM fighters for the Royal Malaysan Airforce (RMAF) at Russia’s Irkutsk Aviation plant. Irkut was to deliver all aircraft by the end of 2008, but the 18th plane didn’t arrive until the summer of 2011. Even that may not be the last SU-30MKM delivery, depending on how Malaysia’s competition to replace its MiG-29Ns shakes out.