Russian defense industry team to visit India soon for talks on modernization of IAF’s Sukhoi fleet

Moscow: A Russian defense industry delegation will soon visit India to continue long-running talks on an upgrade to the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Sukhoi-30 MKI fleet. This proposed upgrade will include better radar, a more powerful weapon set, a new cockpit system, and the integration of electronic warfare capabilities.

Russia also hopes India will continue plans to order 12 more Su-30 MKIs to replace fighter jets it has lost in crashes over the years. Additionally, Moscow hopes to finalize the contract for another 21 MiG-29s to bolster the strength of the IAF’s declining fleet.

While the French-made Rafale is the favorite of a mega contract for 114 new fighters that the IAF is considering, Russia believes that it is the only country capable of offering a true transfer of technology (ToT) with more than 60% Indian content.

The IAF is considering the acquisition of 114 fighters via the Make in India route.

“We have, on several occasions, proposed our vision of an upgrade program (Su-30 MKI). It’s an ongoing discussion and we’ve put our full offer on the table. We plan to visit India in the near future and have a constructive discussion on this offer,” said Yury Slyusar, CEO of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) in Russia, in response to a question from ThePrint at ARMY-2022. , an international military exhibition being held. here in Moscow.

UAC, a public joint-stock company majority-owned by the Russian government, is the country’s largest aircraft manufacturer. In June, Russia’s flagship manufacturers Sukhoi and MiG aircraft companies were merged into UAC.

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The Super Sukhoi

New Delhi and Moscow have discussed an upgrade of the Su-30 MKI, which India first ordered in 1996. The upgraded aircraft, if approved, will be known as the Great Sukhoi.

The IAF has over 160 Su-30 MKIs in its fleet, but talks about an upgrade have been stalled due to various issues – cost being the most fundamental and important factor due to the IAF’s plan. IAF to also procure 114 new fighters for a limited time. budget.

Although the exact figures are unknown, IAF sources have explained that the asking price for an upgrade is too high as it will involve a complete overhaul and not just a simple life extension.

While the Su-30 MKI is the IAF’s frontline fighter, it is beleaguered by many problems, among them the inability to conduct electronic warfare and the lack of a more powerful weapons system. The integration of around 40 Sukhois with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles – which have a range of over 300 kilometers – was a saving grace, however.

As part of the proposed upgrade, the fighter jet’s N011 Bars passive radar will be replaced with ‘Uttam’, India’s Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.

The MKI version is the oldest member of the Su-30 family, which includes the Malaysian Su-30 MKM (2007 model) and the Russian Su-30 SM (2011 model).

It is hoped that the upgrade will bring the MKI up to the level of the Russian SM, which is equipped with several long-range missiles and smart bombs developed under the 2011-2020 Russian State Armaments Program for the Su- 30 SM.

“The only MiG aircraft that can truly deliver ToT”

UAC chief Slyusar said talks are also underway between India and Russia for the IAF’s 114 fighter jet program, adding that the MiG is the only aircraft that can really deliver. ToT with 60% native content.

He was referring to the MiG-35, which Russia is keen to offer to India.

Asked about a possible collaboration with New Delhi – given India’s plans to develop its own fifth-generation fighter jet called AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft) – the senior Russian aviation official said that although there is no news about it, Moscow is ready to cooperate if New Delhi wishes.

Asked about the current order for 12 Su-30 MKIs and 21 MiG-29s, Slyusar said it was under consideration by India.

ThePrint first reported on the IAF’s plan to purchase additional MiG-29s in 2019. From the 1980s vintage, the jets are no longer in production, but 21 airframes built remain in Russia by then.

Jets purchased by India will be upgraded to the latest version before delivery.

This journalist is in Russia as a guest of United Aircraft Corporation.

(Editing by Amrtansh Arora)

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