Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Russian $3.77 billion deal for the supply of 40 SU-30MKI fighter aircraft to India.


 Russian $3.77 billion deal for the supply of 40 SU-30MKI fighter aircraft to India.


The new Super Sukhois deal is going to be on the front burner when the India, Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation meets in New Delhi next week.

The deal for the fighter aircraft under the MMRCA programme is all set to be sewn up when Putin is meets his Indian interlocutors at the highest level on November 1 in New Delhi’s Hyderabad House. 

The fighter aircraft in question are described as the ‘Super Sukhois’. The adjective “super” given to these aircraft is because these aircraft have stealth features, a new cockpit, state-of-the-art radar and features which will enable each aircraft to carry such heavier weapons load as the air-launched version of the jointly developed Indo-Russian BrahMos cruise missile. The first delivery of this much-improved fighter aircraft is expected during 2014-15.

The Russian-supplied MiG21s have so far served as the backbone of the Indian Air Force. This is set to change once the Super Sukhois’ supply from Russia starts trickling in.

The Mig21s are an ageing lot and India is set to phase out as many as 120 of them within the next couple of years. 

The delivery of the Super Sukhois will increase the Indian fleet of Sukhoi’s to 270 aircraft, an impressive figure for any air force in the world.


India has first begun buying off-the-shelf Su-30s from Russia in 1997. But, in 2000, began developing Sukhoi Su-30MKIs at home after Hindustan Aeronautics Limited began production under license from Sukhoi Design Bureau. The Su-30MKI has considerable Indian components in it.


The Super Sukhois would be a game changer for the Indian skies. The aircraft would virtually be an insurance policy against the aerial threats from China and Pakistan from such aircraft as the J-10s and the F-16s respectively. China and Pakistan and are not unmindful of this as the IAF has already started deployment of the Sukois at the forward bases near their borders. Quite recently, India has replaced its ageing fleet of MiG 23s with a squadron of SU-30MKIs on a forward base near the India-Pakistan border.


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