India is seeking to buy additional 18 Russian-made new Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets, Deputy Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation Vladimir Drozhzhov told reporters on Tuesday.
Drozhzhov was quoted as saying by TASS that Russia is processing India’s request for the purchase. "We have fully met our commitments on delivering all technological sets of Su-30MKI fighter jets and have received an additional bid for another 18 technological sets. The bid is being worked out," Drozhzhov said.
It will supplement the 13 squadrons totalling 272 Su-30MKIs that the IAF intends to operate by 2020-21, thus taking to 14 the number of squadrons with this fighter type.
Drozhzhov further said that Russia is also considering the delivery of the range of other military goods to New Delhi. "We have received proposals on supplying more than 20 modernized MiG-29 fighter jets and a request for modernizing some 450 T-90 tanks. We are working on these proposals to hand them over to India," he said.
During Aero India 2019, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chairman R Madhavan had confirmed the Indian Air Force’s plans to purchase 18 Su-30MKI and 21 MiG-29 fighter jets to the media.
According to him, the procurement is intended to shore up the fighter fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) which has slunk to 31 squadrons; it’s lowest in over a decade. The jets would help to keep the manufacturing and servicing facilities of HAL afloat for several years more after the current order for the assembly of Su-30MKI gets exhausted in a year’s time.
Currently, the IAF operates about 250 Su-30MKIs, of which more than 200 have been licence-built.