Su-30 MKI to turn 'Super Sukhoi' soon

Su-30 MKI to turn 'Super Sukhoi' soon
India's front-line combat jet Su-30 MKI will undergo a makeover to turn into Super Sukhois with more punch and power.

“We will start the Su-30 MKI upgrade programme soon to bring in new weapons and avionics to make them more potent,” T Suvarna Raju, chairman and managing director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) told DH.

Asked about the time schedule, Raju said it would start soon, without giving specifics. The enhancement would include installation of new radars with a better capability and improved avionics, said vice chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Marshal S B Deo. The entire fleet - 272 fighter jets - would be upgraded.

Though neither Raju nor Deo elaborated on the nature of the weapons to be added, there are reports that the fighter jet may acquire more stealth capability besides having new missiles with a higher range. The IAF, HAL and Russian agencies are in the process of finalising the cost of the package, Deo said.

“When it comes to technology transfer, the Russians offer everything without any strings attached. The IAF would look forward to continuing its engagement with the Russian aviation industry for the enhancement of Su-30 upgrades so that it could be more potent,” Deo said at a seminar to celebrate 70 years of India-Russia diplomatic relations, organised by HAL.

India has contracted 272 Su-30 MKI from Russia for the IAF, out of which 236 have been delivered. The HAL hopes to complete the entire delivery by 2019-20.

But the IAF's Su-30MKI fleet is often plagued by frequent engine failure-in-air and engine-related problems and poor operational serviceability, due to spare supply problems.

Earlier this year, HAL signed two MoUs with Russian companies for better maintenance of the Su-30 MKI fleet.

Fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) Ka-226T helicopters and enhancement of the Su-30 MKI fleet were the three upcoming major aviation projects between India and Russia, said an official of Rosoboronexport – the Russian agency dealing with military exports.

“The FGFA is a great project for India from the technology sharing point of view. FGFA is my dream and I am hopeful of seeing the project through. Once the two government sign an agreement, it would take three years for the FGFA to fly in the Indian sky,” Raju said.
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