(From The National Interest)
Indications in recent months suggest that the upgrade program for India’s fleet of Su-30MKI fighters is finally gathering pace.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has so far placed orders for 272 aircraft, of which 50 were delivered by Russia in 2002-2004 and 2007. Another 222 are to be supplied by the HAL Corporation; production under Russian license began at HAL’s Indian facilities in 2004.
So far, more than 200 planes have already been delivered, and the Su-30MKI is the most numerous of the multi-role fighters currently in service with the IAF.
Even though the Su-30MKI is one of the most advanced of the Generation 4+ fighters in service with the IAF, the need for its upgrade is becoming ever more obvious. The first of the planes built to the current specification were delivered to India back in 2004. Since then, a lot of new technology has become available in Russia, India, and other markets, including advanced new radars, air-launched missiles and bombs.
Retrofitting the plane with this new hardware can make it much more capable. In fact, the Su-30 platform itself is extremely well suited for all kinds of upgrades, from fairly conservative to the most radical because the plane has a two-seater cockpit and can accommodate a lot of bulky and heavy additional equipment. Read More