An Su-30SM fighter jet. In 2019, military chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing personally inspected production of six of the jets being assembled for the Myanmar military at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant in Russia.
An Su-30SM fighter jet. In 2019, military chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing personally inspected production of six of the jets being assembled for the Myanmar military at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant in Russia.

Myanmar Air Force Deploys Two Su-30 Fighter Jets Against Kachin Independence Army

Just before the government’s announcement, Myanmar Now reported that Myanmar Air Force used two newly-acquired Su-30 fighter jets from Russia against Kachin Independence Army (KIA) targets in Kachin State’s Mohnyin Township last week. The jets were among six that the Myanmar military contracted to buy in January 2018. They were delivered this year, despite the coup in February. The figter jets bombed the Indawgyi Lake region in Mohnyin twice last Thursday, at 1pm and 2pm, but failed to hit their targets both times, he said, adding that the military appeared to be “testing” the jets.

The attacks, which were directed at KIA Battalion 26, were likely intended as retaliation for an ambush on a military column that was marching near the village of Taunggadone in Shwegu Township on November 22. Shwegu is on the border with Sagaing Region, so I think the military was worried about us infiltrating into Sagaing. The KIA clashed with around 100 junta soldiers near Kachinthay, a village about 16km east of the town of Shwegu, on Thursday afternoon, after the aerial bombardment in Mohnyin. Heavy artillery was used in that clash. the military deployed its fighter jets against the group’s Battalion 26 on October 6.

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Myanmar has spent $807 million on Russian arms imports over the past decade, making Russia the country’s No. 2 military exporter after China. Myanmar has spent $807 million on Russian arms imports over the past decade, making Russia the country’s No. 2 military exporter after China. Russia has supplied Myanmar with 30 MiG-29 aircraft, 12 Yak-130 combat training aircraft, six Su-30SME, 10 Mi-24 and Mi-35P helicopters, 8 Pechora-2M anti-aircraft missile systems, as well as radar stations, armored vehicles and artillery systems. Sukhoi Su-30SME is the downgraded export version of Su-30SM developed by Russia’s Sukhoi Aviation Corporation (a PJSC United Aircraft Corporation).

The Kachin Independence Army is a non-state armed group and the military wing of the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), a political group of ethnic Kachins in Northern Myanmar (formerly Burma). The Kachins are a coalition of six tribes whose homeland encompasses territory in Yunnan, China, Northeast India and Kachin State in Myanmar. The Kachin Independence Army is funded by the KIO, which raises money through regional taxes and trade in jade, timber and gold. It is armed with a combination of AK-47s, locally-made rifles (such as KA) and some artillery. Kachin Independence Army headquarters are in Laiza, in southern Kachin State near the Chinese border.

An Su-30SM fighter jet. In 2019, military chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing personally inspected production of six of the jets being assembled for the Myanmar military at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant in Russia.
In 2019, military chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing personally inspected production of six of Su-30SME fighter jet being assembled for the Myanmar military at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant in Russia. (Photo by Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing )

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