October 3, 2012

India set to buy 40 Super Sukhoi jets for $3.5 bn

India and Russia are expected to sign a new $3.5-billion deal for 40 SU-30MKI fighter aircraft upgraded to the Super Sukhoi configuration later this month when Russian president Vladimir Putin visits the country.
Sources told FE on condition of anonymity that this was one of the agenda items to be discussed and finalised when the India Russia inter-governmental commission on military-technical cooperation meets in New Delhi. Co-chaired by the defence ministers of India and Russia, the two-day meet starting October 3 will finalise the draft to be announced in the presence of Russian president Vladmir Putin.
“The proposed deal for 126 fighter aircraft is getting delayed and we are still far from signing the contract with France's Dassault. India's requirements are immediate; hence the need to procure Super Sukhois. This latest version will have a new cockpit, state-of-the-art radar with stealth features and can carry heavier weapons including the air-launched version of the Brahmos cruise missile,” sources added.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is already flying the Sukhoi. If and when the Super Sukhois arrive, they will be 40 in number, taking the total Sukhoi strength to 270 aircraft. With the first delivery expected in 2014-15, the SU-30MKI will become IAF's leading fighter aircraft.
In recent times, IAF has increased the deployment of Sukhois in forward bases, perceiving growing threat from its neighbourhood. A squadron of SU-30MKIs was located at a forward base near the India-Pakistan border to replace an earlier squadron of MiG-23 fighters.
India first procured its first off-the-shelf SU-30s from Russia in 1997 and gradually developed Sukhoi Su-30MKIs at home after Hindustan Aeronautics Limited began production under licence from the Sukhoi Design Bureau. The SU-30MKI has a considerable share of Indian components in it.
The Indo-Russian cooperation in the military technical sphere has evolved from a simple buyer-seller framework to one involving joint research and development, joint production and marketing of advanced defence technologies and systems.
To win the MMRCA order, Dassault CEO Charles Edelstenne had touted Ra- fale’s 100% made-in-France tag as an advantage, which would keep all its high-end technologies, jobs and value-addition within country. The company is under pressure to deliver as per India's needs and demands.


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