India Pays More for Sukhoi Aircraft from Russia

By admin • August 24th, 2010

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India Defence Online, New Delhi — After a massive price escalation in the Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft deal with Russia, India has realised that the hike in the fighter aircraft deal has started resembling the unwarranted hike in the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier deal made with Russia earlier.

In 2007, the Indian Air Force (IAF) signed a deal with Russia for a fast-track purchase of 40 Sukhois-30s for $1.6 billion. This amounted to $40 million per Su-30 fighter aircraft. However, a latest deal for an additional 40 Su-30 aircraft and two extra as replacements has been finalised for $4.3 billion. That amounts to roughly $102 million per SU-30 aircraft.

Since the latest deal for 42 Sukhoi-30 aircraft is to be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) in India under licence from the Russian firm Irkutsk, it should be costing less. In fact, the increase in the price for Su-30 is close to 150 per cent with no additional enhanced features. Sources said that the aircraft being manufactured by HAL does not have features such as the AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar. In comparison, the fifth generation American F-35 fighter planes have advanced features like AESA and cost roughly $100 million apiece.

While the Sukhoi-30 aircraft has been with the IAF since the turn of the millennia, no upgrade on the fighter plane has taken place. Currently, a separate deal between Russian firm Irkutsk and HAL is awaiting a nod which involves the upgrade of the fighter craft. This will help the incorporation of advanced combat features, systems and avionics to increase the flight performance. Besides, the AESA radar will also be added.

In June 2010, India had decided to let Russia modernise 40 of its SU-30 MKI fighters which are being made in India under license from Russia. This modernisation process of the SU-30 MKI fighters will involve the installation of new radars, onboard computers, electronic warfare systems and BrahMos supersonic missiles on 40 Su-30MKI fighters. The modernisation is being carried out by the Rosoboronexport, the Sukhoi Design Bureau and NPO Mashinostroyeniya.

Currently, the IAF operates about 100 SU-30 MKI and plans to have nearly 300 within five years. The SU-30MKI weighs about 30 tonnes and is equipped with Western electronics, and can carry more than eight tonnes of bombs and hit targets over 1,500 kilometres away. India is making 170 SU-30s locally under licensed production which is called the Su-30MKI and is considered the most capable version available due to its Israeli and European electronics.

Source: India Defence Online

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