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June 4, 2014

India, Russia in talks to upgrade Sukhoi-30MKI with New AESA Radar

The Indian Air Force’s advanced Su-30 MKI aircraft may undergo yet another round of upgradation involving its radar in the near future.The Indian Air Force’s advanced Su-30 MKI aircraft may undergo yet another round of upgradation involving its radar in the near future.

Top officials from India and Russia are meeting here for two days beginning on Thursday to chalk out the maintenance plan of several Russian military hardware being used by the Indian armed forces. A Russian proposal on the upgradation of Su-30 MKI is on the table.

The two sides had few rounds of initial discussions on India’s front-line fighter jet that needs to be upgraded. “We will demand further improvement in the radar system,” a source familiar with the discussions told Deccan Herald.

From warships, submarines, tanks to fighter or transport aircraft, maintenance of a large number of Russian military platforms being used by the armed forces is one of the perpetual problems for New Delhi, which inducted these platforms in the last few decades.

The Indian delegation will be headed by Defence Secretary R K Mathur and will have representatives from three services. The Russian side will have representatives of the military industry and the government.

The discussion between New Delhi and Moscow comes in the wake of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's admission of critical problems in some of the Su-30 mission computers and head-up display systems, supplied by the Russians.

In February, a HAL official informed Irkut Corporation on multiple cases of “repeated failure of mission computer”. The head up display multi-function display too were blanked off in flight. The problems were visible in two configurations of the aircraft.

“As the displays blanking off is a serious and critical issue affecting the exploitation of aircraft, it needs corrective action or remedial measures on priority,” wrote the official from HAL’s Aircraft Upgrade R&D Centre at Nasik in a confidential letter to Irkut’s deputy director of supplies and after sales service division. The Air headquarters was kept in the loop.

When asked, HAL chairman and managing director R K Tyagi said, “Very few aircraft reported problem of mission computer failure and blanking-off HUD which was of initial batch.”

"The issue was intermittent in nature and related to old software version. The issue has been addressed by upgrading the software version by Russian side and by replacement of the mission computer and head up display wherever they have been found un-serviceable during ground checks. Till date no such incidence has been reported from any IAF base with upgraded software version,” Tyagi said.

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