Russia is expecting mega-deals in engine sales as India seeks to increase the number of Su-30MKI, MiG-29 fighter jets and order new helicopters. All these engines are developed and produced by the United Engine Corporation (UEC), the consortium of aerospace engine manufacturers in Russia.
The engine volumes usually surpass the actual airframe delvieries since the air forces tend to book also spare engines in addition to the ones already fitted.
Su-30MKIs - AL-31FP engine program
The biggest project in the large-scale cooperation between Russia and India in the field of aero engines is the ongoing delivery of the AL-31FP engine (powers Su-30MKI fighter) kits for its licensed production in India. The Russian and the Indian sides are also implementing the projects of organizing the overhaul of aircraft and helicopter engines.
The Indian Air Force is likely to order for eight Su-30MKI aircraft to make up for the losses in different crashes. As per reports, the HAL has made an offer of selling 40 Su-30MKI planes to the force with latest upgrades and the offer is seen as an emergency measure for the Air Force to meet its requirement for combat planes in view of the dwindling fighter squadrons.
AL-31FP is a high temperature turbofan engine of modular design. A specific feature of AL-31FP is an axi-symmetric vectoring nozzle providing super maneuverability of the aircraft. AL-31FP engines ensure stable operation in all available evolutions of the aircraft in super maneuverability modes
AL-31FP engines are being manufactured and assembled at HAL engine division in Koraput (Odisha) under a licensed production program from the kits delivered by Russia..
MiG-29s -RD-33 engine program
In 2016 Russia had completed the delivery of RD-33MK turbofan engines for the Indian Navy's career based MiG-29K/KUB fighters. The country possesses all the necessary manufacturing capabilities to produce new batches of these engines if having received a new order.
The Indian Air Force is in talks with Russia for an urgent procurement of 21 MiG 29 fighter aircraft in a contract valued at INR 6,000 Crore ($847 million). Russia continues to provide India with the comprehensive aid in the exploitation of the RD-33MK engines.
UEC’s RD-33MK provides a higher thrust than the basic model (RD-33) while featuring all its advantages such as unrestricted flight control and high stability against ambient disturbances. A jet fighter equipped with this engine can safely take off the aircraft carrier deck and efficiently perform combat tasks in a hot climate.The engine contains systems that reduce its infrared and optical visibility.
Engines for helicopters
The Indian MoD is on the verge of concluding negotiations with Russia to acquire 48 additional Mi-17-V5 military transport/utility helicopters for $1.1 billion for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The additional Mi-17-V5s are meant to supplement the 151 similar platforms that India acquired between 2008 and 2016, 139 of which were procured as weaponized versions for the IAF, with the remaining 12 being acquired for use by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the country’s paramilitary forces.
The fleet of TV3-117/VK-2500 engines (installed on the majority of Mil and Kamov helicopters, including Mi-8/17 and Mi-24) contains about 500 units.
UEC, uniting in itself both development and production of these engines, as well as the specialized service plants, provides the Russian helicopter engines with a full circle of aftersales support. UEC has developed a program of modernizing the powerplants of the earlier delivered Soviet/Russian helicopters by replacing TV3-117 engine with VK-2500 or VK-2500PS. It will significantly improve the overall capacity of the helicopter.
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