By MG Mahmud
MOSCOW: India’s Air Force will buy 18 new Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets, a TASS news agency report said. This new order will add to the existing fleet of more than 200 of the type in service with the IAF, the largest operator of the combat aircraft.
“We have fully met our commitments on delivering all technological sets of Su-30MKI fighter jets and have received an additional bid for another 18 technological sets. The bid is being worked out,” Deputy Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation Vladimir Drozhzhov said in the July 9 report.
The Su-30MKI was designed by Russia’s Sukhoi Corporation and built under licence by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and first entered service in the IAF in 2002. It features state of the art avionics developed by Russia, India, France, South Africa and Israel for display, navigation, targeting and electronic warfare. It was reported that nine Su-30 MKI aircraft had crashed since 2009, with the latest incident in July 2018. India has ordered 272 units of the aircraft. Russia has delivered all components and kits to HAL for the assembly of 222 Su-30MKI.
The TASS report said that Russia is considering a range of bids for delivering military equipment to New Delhi. “We have received proposals on supplying more than 20 modernized MiG-29 fighter jets and a request for modernizing some 450 T-90 tanks. We are working on these proposals to hand them over to India,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
“We have received proposals on supplying more than 20 modernised MiG-29 fighter jets and a request for modernizing some 450 T-90 tanks. We are working on these proposals to hand them over to India,” TASS news agency quoted Drozhzhov as saying. The two countries also plan to sign an agreement on the production of military spare parts in India.
“We have recently held the first meeting of a working group on the post-purchase maintenance [of military hardware] and agreed to step up preparations and the signing of an inter-governmental agreement on the production of spare parts in India. “A draft agreement is currently under consideration at the domestic level.”
“It will be a comprehensive agreement. Earlier, we suggested signing separate agreements on every type of military equipment but India said it wanted to combine all six agreements on the production of spare parts for planes, helicopters, armored vehicles, air defence systems, naval equipment and the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier, and we accepted it,” he added.