Russia announced at Paris Air Show that it is planning to modernize India's Su-30MKI multirole fighters with help from Italy.
"In cooperation with the Italian side, we will start modernizing Indian Su-30MKIs," Russian Rosoboronexport CEO Alexander Mikheev said during a news conference Monday, in comments quoted mostly by the Russian media.
Russia has proposed three levels of modernization; weapons systems, radar & electronics and engine to the Indian Air Force's over 200 Su-30MKI fighter jets.
Earlier, CEO of Russian United Engine Corporation Alexander Artyukhov said that the Indian version of Su-30MKI after modernization will get the AL-41F turbofan engines designed for 4++ generation aircraft currently being installed on the Su-35 fighters, Mikheev told at the Paris Air Show.
However Mikheev did not elaborate on how Italian companies would be involved in the Su-30MKI's modernization- whether they will bring expertise in electronics or any other field.
Another point to be considered is that major Italian defence companies are subsidiaries of Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica), which has been blacklisted in India as a parent of AgustaWestland which is facing bribery charges.
In 2012, upgrades of the earlier 80 Su-30MKIs involved equipping them with stand-off missiles with a range of 300 km.
The Indian Defence Ministry proposed several upgrades for the Su-30MKI to the Indian Parliament, including the fitting of Russian Phazotron Zhuk-AE AESA radars.
During MMRCA trials, the Zhuk-AE AESA radar demonstrated significant capabilities, including ground-mapping modes and the ability to detect and track aerial targets.
At the 2011 MAKS air-show, Irkut chairman Alexy Fedorov offered an upgrade package with an improved radar, and reduced radar signature to the Indian fleet to make them "Super Sukhois".
On 25 June 2016, HAL conducted the first test flight of a Su-30MKI fitted with a BrahMos-A missile from Nashik, India.
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