“An advantage of SU-30SME is it can fly to any part of the country for airstrike, and can bring many bombs at the same time.”

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(Former Air Force Sergeant Zeya who joined civil disobedient movement)

Myanmar junta has received first two SU-3SMEs from Russia, according to the report of RIA, a state-owned news agency of Russia, quoting Dr Charlie Than, Union Minister for Industry under the military regime.

Agreement between Myanmar and Russia signed in September 2022 to purchase six SU-30SMEs, and these two aircrafts are the first delivery of them.

This interview with former Air Force Sergeant Zeya who joined civil disobedient movement is about advantages of SU-30SME, possible airstrike of military council and awareness for aerial attacks.

TLT: To what extent the military has rely on their air force?

Sergeant Zeya: Myanmar military is not good at strategy. They just use excess armed power, especially in fighting against ethnic armed organizations with lesser arms and ammunitions. They are also largely relying on air force. The military uses aircraft even for delivering supplies and ammunitions. Their troops are surrendering easily if they do not receive support of air force attack. They use aircraft for investigating enemy camps. So, the military has to largely rely on the air force.

TLT: Could you talk about two new SU-3SMEs they procured from Russia, and what are advantages and disadvantages of these aircraft?

Sergeant Zeya: These two aircrafts have been received since 2022. Myanmar military informed the public lately. We knew that two aircraft would be delivered in 2022, and the second two in 2023. Six SU-3SMEs have been procured. They exercised trainings in Naypyitaw, and flied to Haigyi Island, Rakhine, Magway and Gangaw before landing in Naypyitaw.  It was a long flight. Another route was Naypyitaw-Myikyina-nothern Shan state-eastern Shan state. So, these aircrafts can fly to anywhere in the country from Naypyitaw for bombing. Another advantage is these aircraft can carry a hundred of 250-pound bomb for attack. Its disadvantage is the higher cost for flying and ammunition. Although these aircraft have received from Russia one year ago, they have not used them yet for combat.

They would use jet fighters in open season. The war has been long. Their capacity of bomb production has been limited due to higher cost. Instead of 250 or 500 pound bombs, they would produce 120 or 50 pound bombs. These domestic bombs are not strong, but they used these ordinary bombs in airstrikes to encourage their troops not to surrender, and to threaten civilians. If their airstrikes were effective, our forces could not resist any more.

TLT: How IDPs and PDFs should prepare for their safety as these new aircraft cannot be shot down?

Sergeant Zeya: Locals need to dig underground bunkers, and compile dried rice and food. As we have not possessed air defence system yet, IDPs and PDF camps will need underground bunkers. Dron forces are the air forces of PDF. Our forces need to learn strategy of military’s air force. Attacks must be carried out on their logistics of fuel.

TLT: What is your remark on the negligence of international communities on military’s airstrikes targeting civilians?

Sergeant Zeya: International community spoke out to stand with us, but they have no action. Myanmar military will purchase aviation fuel under the category of commercial purpose instead for air force. As the global countries just focus on their national interest, they have spoken out for their support in line with policies of their countries on democratic and humanitarian norms. So, their support is just on the paper, with expressing their concern. They will suffer injustice if they neglect it.

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