The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is planning to procure an additional 18 Su-30MKM multi-role fighter aircraft from Russia.

Izvestia Daily has reported that the Malaysian defence minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is likely to sign a contract for the additional aircraft.

Hamidi is also expected to discuss the possibility of upgrading the existing fleet of Su-30MKM fighters to equip them with new missiles, including the Brahmos.

Russia would deliver the 18 Su-30MKM fighters to Malaysia as part of a $900m agreement signed in 2003.

Based on the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, the Su-30MKM is a multi-role fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions.

The air force currently operates a mixed fighter fleet comprising the Russian MiG-29N Fulcrum, and US F/A-18D Hornet and F-5 Tiger jets.