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Russia's Defense Ministry will purchase a regiment of 24 newest Su-34 planes for the Air Force by 2010
Russia's Defense Ministry will purchase a regiment of 24 newest Su-34 planes for the Air Force by 2010, Deputy Prime Minister, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told reporters on Thursday. "Everything has been coordinated and decided upon in a short-term perspective. The Defense Ministry was granted the right from 2004 to conclude long-term three-year contacts with defense companies. As a result, two batch-production Su-34 planes will be purchased in 2006, six in 2007, ten in 2008, with purchases increasing in coming years. Therefore, we have to buy a whole regiment of 24 Su-34 planes in 2010," the deputy prime minister said. Air Force chief Vladimir Mikhailov, who is accompanying Ivanov on his tour of Siberian defense firms, told reporters that two Su-34 have already been manufactured and soon will be supplied to the army. "It is planned to purchase in the future ten such aircraft each year," he said. According to the Defense Ministry, the Air Force currently has ten regiments of frontline Su-24 bombers, which will be gradually replaced by new Su-34 fighter-bombers. The Air Force has 222 Su-24 planes and 100 Su-24MP reconnaissance planes. Speaking about the modernization of defense sector companies, Ivanov said it should be implemented at the expense of the Investment Fund, not the Stabilization Fund. "We need to re-equip companies of the defense-industrial complex, because otherwise we'll be unable to develop quality and competitive military hardware. But I doubt that we have to take money from the Stabilization Fund, because there is the Investment Fund available," said the deputy prime minister who in charge for defense sector problems in the Cabinet. "There's another side to the issue. There are companies that invest their own funds, derived from profit, in the reequipping of production assets," Ivanov said. For example, the Chkalov aircraft company purchased two high-tech machine tools with its own money, which are as effective as a whole shop. "One shouldn't make the federal budget carry 100 percent of expenses," the deputy premier said. NAPO is the largest producer of Su planes. It is part of the Sukhoi aviation holding company. It produces Su-34 fighter-bombers and An-38-120 multi-purpose planes and participates in the program of developing the RRJ regional plane. It also upgrades Su-24M bombers.
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