The contracts India signed with Russia for long-term maintenance of the Su-30 MKI fleet increase the serviceability of the frontline fighter jet fleet, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) chief T Suvarna Raju said on Monday. According to sources, the contract is worth $315 million. “The deal will bolster the after-sales service and reduce the lead time of procurement of spares drastically,” Raju told IANS. “The agreement will result increase in the serviceability of the Su-30MKI fleet as spares would be available on time,” he said.
On March 17, the HAL signed two contracts with Russians for long-term support for the Su-30 MKI aircraft. One of the agreements, signed between the HAL that produces Su-30 MKI under licence, and United Aircraft Corporation of Russia, is for the supply of spares and technical assistance for five years. The second agreement was signed by the HAL with United Engine Corporation for the supply of spares for engines of Russian origin.
The agreement is governing the long-term supply of spares and will enable the HAL to procure the required spares from the Price Catalogues, directly from the Original Equipment Manufacturers, authorised by Federal Services on Military Technical Cooperation of Russian Federation, for the Su-30 MKI fleet.
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At present, the five-year contracts include the after-sales service of 200 Su-30 MKIs, which may be extended to the full contracted 272 aircraft, said a source.
The frontline strike fighter of the Indian Air Force has suffered serviceability problems in the past.
A report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in December 2015 said Su-30 MKI aircraft with the IAF suffer from poor serviceability, which is just around 55 per cent against the prescribed norm of 75 per cent.
In January 2017, the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the serviceability of the fighters has improved, and is now at 60 per cent. Informed sources said the present serviceability of the Su-30 MKI fleet is between 60 and 65 per cent. Since its induction in the Indian Air Force in 2004, seven Su-30 MKIs have crashed, the last one on Thursday in Rajasthan.
Following a crash near Pune in October 2014, the entire SU-30 fleet was grounded for a month before it was allowed to fly again in November. It was the longest period for which the fleet was grounded since 2009 when its operation was suspended for nearly three weeks following an accident.