Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is offering to build additional 40 Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters for the Indian Air Force (IAF) at one third the cost of French Rafale aircraft.
According to a Business Standard analysis, the IAF is paying INR 11.25 billion per Rafale, excluding the price of weapons and logistics, whereas, HAL is offering to price the additional Su-30s at just INR 4.25 billion.
HAL Chairman T Suvarna Raju said: “We will offer a very competitive price. Since 2010, we have been delivering the Su-30 at INR 4.25 billion. We can deliver another three squadrons at that same price.” So, the IAF will pay INR 170 billion for 40 additional Su-30s.
However, that would involve buying the fighters in ready-to-assemble kits from Russia and putting them together in Nashik. “HAL has already absorbed the technology for building and supporting the Su-30s. Now, the aim is to build those three new squadrons as quickly, and as cheaply, as possible,” said Raju.
Rationalising the proposal for 40 additional Su-30s, Raju said they were needed to carry the BrahMos air-launched cruise missile (ALCM).
“We are required to modify 40-odd Su-30s to carry the BrahMos ALCM. Instead of upgrading older fighters, with a shorter residual lifespan, it would be better to build three more squadrons of Sukhois with the capability to carry BrahMos missiles,” said Raju.
Ministry sources mentioned in the report indicated a proposal to build more Su-30s would be considered positively, given the shortfall of IAF fighter squadrons. HAL is currently building the last 23 Su-30s of the 272 it was mandated to build. The IAF’s first 50 Su-30s were built in Russia.