India is likely to conclude its Su-30 MKI fighter modernization agreement with Russia by this year end.
India has progressed in discussion over modernization of all Su-30 MKI fighters during negotiation with a Russia team last month. An agreement is possible by the year-end, senior officials were quoted as saying by the Hindu. Tuesday.
Many technical specifications have been discussed in last month meet with Russia and we hope to conclude the deal soon, a senior official was quoted by the newspaper. The fighter will be equipped with latest avionics and radar, advanced stealth features to decrease the radar cross section. The fighter will also be equipped with new electronic warfare capability and weapons. Even though the quantum of the deal is not at the final stage, few officials mentioned that it could be in range of $7 to $8 billion.
There has been discussion of upgrading the aircraft to super Sukhoi since long time but the talks have received more importance recently. There is nothing like Super Sukhoi, a senior official said. However, there have been talks for comprehensive modernization of Su-30, he admitted.
The initial agreement with Russia was signed by India in the late 1990s for procuring 50 Su-30 multi-role fighter jets in a fly-away condition. After that, it ordered 272 Su-30MKI fighter jets to be made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at Nasik. Most of the aircraft to be made by HAL have been delivered, and the entire lot of 222 aircraft is expected to be completed in the next couple of years. The HAL has a production rate of 10-12 aircraft a year.
The upgrade is necessitated by India employing advanced weapons on the Su-30MKI such as the BrahMos air-launched supersonic missile.