Russia has expressed willingness to transfer technology of 332 components of the Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft under the ‘Make-in-India’ program.
These components, also called line replacement units (LRUs) refer to both critical and non-critical components and fall into four major heads such as Radio and Radar; Electrical & Electronics System; Mechanical System and Instrument System.
India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) which manufactures the aircraft under licence from its Russian arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, has opened talks with the latter and the Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer, Irkut Corp., to enable Indian industries to manufacture the LRUs through transfer of technology (TOT) from the relevant Russian manufacturers of the components, the Times of India reported on Friday.
Russia and India have commenced discussion since last August on further TOT for the Sukhoi Su-30MKI under the ‘Make-in-India’ program to enable greater participation from the Indian private industry in defence manufacture, the report added.
India will receive the full complement of 272 Su-30MKI aircraft by the end of next month. While the number of aircraft with the Indian air force increases, so also does the need for maintenance, repair and overhaul. With a planned service life of 30 years, the requirement for LRUs will only increase.
Vitaly Borodich, senior vice-president (military aviation), IRKUT Corp had told defenseworld.net during an interview earlier this year, “Of the 272 aircraft contracted by India, 222 aircraft will have been co-produced in India with HAL as our main partner.”
Borodich had said that India (HAL) has mastered licence production to the extent that certain critical raw material is sourced locally. In addition, hi-tech products of Indian origin such as on-board computers are not only installed on Su-30MKIs, but also supplied as integral parts of Su-30 family of aircraft to Air Forces of Russia, Algeria and Malaysia.
While India assembles the Su-30MKI aircraft with some major components manufactured in India and the rest sourced from Russia due to absence of economies of scale and a network of local suppliers, the new initiative should help a greater assimilation of various technologies that go into the aircraft’s manufacture.
HAL has set up the only overhaul facility for Su-30 outside of Russia with help from Russia. As more IAF aircraft clock the required number of flying fours to commence the overhaul process, greater is the need for LRUs and this is where the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative for the SU-30MKI aircraft comes into play.
India has recently signed an agreement with Malaysia to set up a Sukhoi Su-30 forum to share information about the aircraft which is operated by both countries. Parts made under the ‘Make-in-India’ program could find an export outlet to Malaysia.