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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Air Force Revamping Its Fighter Jets

ReutersThe upgraded Su-27 jets will feature satellite-guided navigation and sophisticated weapons control systems, the Air Force said.
Russia's Soviet-built combat jets are undergoing modernization that will significantly enhance their capability, the chief of the Air Force said Tuesday.

General Vladimir Mikhailov said at a meeting with foreign military attaches in Moscow that the Air Force's mainstay Su-27 and MiG-29 fighter jets and other aircraft were being upgraded to new standards.

"We have made significant progress in increasing combat readiness and improving the capability of our aircraft," Mikhailov said.

The upgraded jets feature the latest achievements in electronics, weapons and navigation, including a satellite-guided navigation system and sophisticated weapons control systems.

The Air Force's fleet of Mi-24 helicopter gunships is also being modernized to make them capable of nighttime flying, Mikhailov said.

He added that the Air Force had already received the first prototypes of the state-of-the-art S-400 air defense missile.

Mikhailov's deputy, Aitech Bizhev, was quoted as saying earlier by the Interfax-Military News Agency that the S-400 was capable of engaging strategic missile warheads and will be deployed to protect Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Urals.

After a decade of desperate funding shortages that followed the 1991 Soviet collapse, President Vladimir Putin's government has steadily increased military spending in recent years, thanks to soaring revenues from oil exports.

The overall 2005 military budget, which includes new weapons purchases, rose by 27.6 percent over last year's budget and remained the biggest item in 2005 at 531.06 billion rubles ($19 billion).

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has said that the Air Force will get a Tu-160 strategic bomber, have another one modified and also receive seven upgraded Su-27 fighters.

Despite the increases, Russian military spending remains a fraction of the Pentagon's $400 billion budget this year.