By BRUCE WRIGHT
Russia’s growing military also includes key defense additions to its army and navy.
The Russian armed forces were set to bolster its air force’s fighter jets by adding more nearly three dozen planes to its existing fleet of fighter jets, a high ranking defense official said last week. The new aircraft include 16 Su-34 bombers, 17 Sukhoi-30SMs fighter planes and 10 Yakovlev-130 planes for both combat and training, Tass reported.
The Su-34s were expected to be delivered to Russia’s Aerospace Forces by next year, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said Friday.
“This year, we expect above the plan supplies of four aircraft, and the overall amount of order for this year is 16 Su-34,” Borisov said. The jets have “shown its best characteristics in the Syrian conflict, has a huge potential for modernization and is almost a plane of the new generation,” he added.
But the Sukhoi-30SMs and the Yakovlevs were expected to be delivered to the Russian air force at some point later this year, Borisov said.
The news of Russia’s expanding air force arsenal of weaponry came just weeks after the country’s defense ministry announced it would be getting 170 new planes in addition to 905 new tanks for the army and 17 new ships for the navy, according to the Associated Press.
Tensions between Russia and the U.S. have been festering in recent months, something that has led some European Union member states to warn of potential Russian military action against America and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) over its continued occupation in the Baltic region, the EU Observer reported.
The U.S. military accused Russia of violating an arms control treaty by deploying a ground-launched missile last week. Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Paul Selva didn’t seem optimistic about the turn of events.
“The system itself presents a risk to most of our facilities in Europe and we believe that the Russians have deliberately deployed it in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility,” Selva testified during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday.
The news of Russia’s plans to add to its air force has likely heightened Selva’s concerns.