Venezuela allocates $480m to buy Sukhoi aircraft from Russia
Venezuela has reportedly allocated $480m for its Sukhoi aircraft programme, moving a step ahead to strengthen the country's airspace.
In September, Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro announced that the country will buy at least 12 new Su-30MK2 fighters for its armed forces from Russia.
Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez was quoted by Tass-Defense as saying that the new programme is part of "the continuous strengthening of the republic's defensive capability along with redoubled efforts to improve public health and education."
Lopez further said: "Despite a global oil price slump and the economic war being waged on this country, the president realises the necessity for the armed forces to have what they need to have to accomplish the mission assigned by the constitution."
The defence minister also added that the new Sukhoi aircraft will expand the 23-aircraft fleet that currently in service with the country's force.
According to the Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade, Venezuela is expected to become the second largest importer of Russian weapons and military equipment between 2012 and 2015, Sputnik News reported.
Powered by two AL-31F turbofan engines, the Su-30MK2 is an upgraded version of the Su-30 fighter, and is designed to conduct air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions in all-weather conditions.
Equipped with an improved fire-control system and an air-to-air and air-to-surface weapon suite, the aircraft can also be used for pilot training missions.
The aircraft also features an improved fire-control system that enables enhanced surface-target detection capabilities and an air-to-air and air-to-surface weapon suite, with the ordnance mounted on 12 hardpoints.