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Beholding Vietnam’s Russian-made ‘King Cobra’ Su-30MK2 warplanes

Friday, May 22, 2015, 16:22 GMT+7
Beholding Vietnam’s Russian-made ‘King Cobra’ Su-30MK2 warplanes
One of the photos capturing the Su-30MK2 jets during their May 21, 2015 drill flight which Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper holds an exclusive right to

A Tuoi Tre (Youth) reporter recently paid a visit to a regiment posted in southern Vietnam that is the first unit to operate all Russian-made, state-of-the-art Su-30MK2 fighter jets.

The Tuoi Tre reporter visited the 935 Fighter Jet Regiment, on Thursday, its 40th birthday.

The regiment, which operates under Division 370, which belongs to the Air Defense-Air Force, is stationed in Bien Hoa City in Dong Nai Province, some 30 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City.

It is the first regiment in Vietnam that owns and operates an all-Su-30MK2 fleet.

The Su-30MK2, dubbed “King Cobra,” is a further improvement to the Su-30MKK with upgraded avionics and maritime strike capabilities.

The Su-30MKK is a modification of the Sukhoi Su-30, incorporating advanced technology from the Sukhoi Su-35 variant.

The aircraft, developed by Sukhoi Company in 1997, is a heavy class, all-weather, long-range strike fighter.

With a rated maximum takeoff weight of 85,000 lb, the Su-30MK2 has an enhanced weapon system optimized for maritime strike, built around the N-001VEP radar, which will target the Kh-31A ramjet supersonic anti-shipping missile, and a radar seeker equipped variant of the Kh-59, designated the Kh-59MK2, according to

All Su-30MK2 pilots are supposed to have over 300 flying hours on different kinds of jets, and an adequate command of the Russian language.

It takes them a month of theoretical training and one or two flights with accompanying instructors to maneuver the cutting-edge fighter jets.

Established on May 21, 1975, the 935 regiment was tasked with riding Mig-21, Russian-built supersonic jets, and employing F-5 fighters collected from defeated enemy troops to their own use.

In December 2004, the regiment was armed with the state-of-the-art Su-27 and Su-30MK2 warplanes.

Six years later, the unit had more Su-30MK2 jets added to its fleet as replacements of the Su-27.

Since 2008, the 935 regiment has made regular patrol flights to Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, the marine platform DK1, and the country’s southwestern border areas.

Its current missions are safeguarding the skyline, seas, border areas, islands, and key economic zones to the south of the country.

The regiment has made outstanding military accomplishments and won ample accolades over the past 40 years.

Its members also provided substantial assistance for Cambodia in establishing the neighboring country’s first-ever fighter air force regiment right at Bien Hoa Airport.

Cambodia conferred the Angkor Medal, its highest honor, on the 935 regiment in recognition of the merit.

Since 2010, the regiment has trained almost 800 pilots and instructors from different air force units to maneuver Su-27 and Su-30MK2 fighter jets.

Below are Tuoi Tre's photos of the regiment's May 21, 2015 drill flight:

Technicians are seen giving a Su-30MK2 jet the last check before handing it over to pilots for a drill flight on May 21, 2015. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A technician perspires under the scorching heat. Temperatures in hangars are generally two to three degrees Celsius higher than outside. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A young pilot is shown drawing air routes for his assignment. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A group of pilots prepare for their drill flight in a yard with illustrative air routes. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A pilot gets ready for his flight with a Su-30MK2 model on his hand. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A technician signals to the pilots to have the jet taxi out of the hangar into the runway. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A Su-30MK2 jet is seen taxiing on a runway amidst the white-flowered reed field. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The jet is taking off. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Two jets are seen soaring into the sky. Photo: Tuoi Tre

 A Su-30MK2 fighter jet is seen during flight in this photo taken from inside the cockpit by Senior Lieutenant Colonel Tran Trong Tuyen, Division 370’s political chief. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A fighter jet is seen doing a “somersault” in the sky in another photo taken from inside the cockpit. Photo: Tran Trong Tuyen

The “King Cobra” jet is pictured amidst floating clouds. Photo: Tran Trong Tuyen

The commanding officials on the ground are seen giving commands to the pilots. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A jet gets ready for its landing. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A jet’s pilots open their parachute upon landing. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A jet has safely landed. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Technicians talk to the pilots after a successful drill flight. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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