A section of India’s Sukhoi-30mki fleet upgrade has been put on hold as a result of Russian actions in Ukraine, according to sources. Russia is a major supplier of weaponry to India’s armed forces, but its invasion of Ukraine is having an impact on India’s Su-30 fighters. Due to sanctions placed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been compelled to postpone upgrading a significant portion of its Su-30MKI multirole fighters of Russian manufacture to the “Super Sukhoi” standard.
Senior industry officials reported that an AESA radar will be installed in place of the fighter’s digital multimode dual-frequency NIIP N011M Bars radar as part of the proposed upgrade of 85 of the roughly 260 Su-30MKIs that were constructed under licence. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a state-owned company in India, and United Aircraft Corporation of Russia were supposed to work together to complete the project. The update, announced by former ACM R.K.S. Bhaduria in 2019, also includes adding more potent radars and the most modern electronic warfare capabilities to increase its potency in line with current standards.
According to people with knowledge of the situation in the Indian government, the deal for the 12 most advanced Su-30MKI aircraft, valued at more than 20,000 crore, will also be slightly delayed because the stakeholders will now need to include more Made-in-India content in the planes in accordance with the current policy of the government to promote Indian defence products over imports.
In cooperation with the Russians and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the IAF intended to modernise 85 of its aircraft to the highest standards. For the time being, the idea has been placed on hold due to the current circumstances. The Indian Air Force has ordered 272 Su-30 MKIs in several batches, making them the backbone of the IAF. Each time the need for more fighter jets in service was underlined, the Russian manufacturers would receive an order for 30 to 40 of these aircraft.
The aircraft are delivered in partially assembled and fully assembled knocked-down kits by the Russian producers to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, where they are subsequently put together in the Nasik plant. The shipment of spare parts for the fleet of fighter aircraft has also been delayed as a result of the ongoing crisis in Russia and Ukraine.