Govt to fast track acquisition of Su-30 and MiG-29 fighters for the IAF in face of the situation along the border

In view of the current scenario along the Line of Actual Control, there is an urgent requirement to upgrade these aircraft to deal with the Chinese.

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China has Su-35 and J-31 fighter jets.

Close on the heels of the ongoing stand-off between India and China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) is expected to take a decision on two proposals of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Confirming this to Financial Express Online, a highly placed source said that “ Next week when the DAC meets headed by the defence Minister Rajnath Singh, procuring 12 Su-30 and 21 MiG-29 aircraft are likely to come up for consideration.”

“Though there is a perception that both these proposals are linked to the current standoff along the LAC, this is not the case. Both these proposals have been under consideration of the Ministry of Defence for more than a year and a half,” the source stated.

Even if the DAC approves the proposal, the contract finalization and subsequent deliveries will take than two years or more. IAF already has a fleet of more than 250 Su-30 aircraft, and from the point of view of operational capabilities Su-30 upgrade is far more critical, as it will address some of the issues with the current fleet.

“More importantly, from a near term perspective, IAF is expecting the delivery of four `Rafale fighters from France end of next month, which will be adding to its firepower,” he added.

Upgrade of Su-30

There is an agreement between India and Russia for upgrading the existing fleet of the Su-30 MKI. The aircraft need to be upgraded as from the time they had arrived in India were built to the current specifications and are Generation 4 plus.

In view of the current scenario along the Line of Actual Control, there is an urgent requirement to upgrade these aircraft to deal with the Chinese.

China has Su-35 and J-31 fighter jets.

The IAF plans to upgrade the existing fleet of Su-30 to the level of `Super Sukhoi’ which will be loaded with advanced radars and weapon systems.

Also, there are plans to equip the aircraft with long-range stand-off missiles with a range of 300 km; adding more powerful EW and jamming systems, high-performance engines, multiple ejector Rack, and AESA radar.

Some of the Super Sukhoi 30MKI Features

  • It has been planned to improve the Air Frame with 6000 flying hours
  • With Chassis wheels braking system
  • Will have up-graded AL-31F production engines with 5th gen capabilities
  • There will be a modern digital weapons control system as well as more advanced anti-jamming features.

Rafale coming next month

In an earlier interaction with Financial Express Online, the IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria had said that the delivery of the aircraft from France is on track. The delay is due to the ferrying of the fighters which will arrive July end.

Once these aircraft arrive they will be integrating with the existing fleets of the IAF and will also add deterrence value.

The first four out of the 36 aircraft expected to come from France will be will reach Ambala Airbase and there will be three twin-seat and one single-seater. On its way to India, these will be refuelled mid-air by the Russian IL-78 and one French Air Force Tanker.

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First published on: 19-06-2020 at 09:03 IST