The Indian Airforce has decided to upgrade its SU- 30 MKI, in collaboration with a Russian firm, The SU – 30 MKIs were first introduced in the 90s. The SU- 30s were introduced in four phases. The ones that are to be upgraded now are from the first phase.
The SU – 30 MKIs are variants of the Sukhoi SU – 30 that was jointly manufactured by Russia’s Sukhoi Corporation and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Airforce. The MKI’s airframe evolved from that of the Sukhoi SU – 27 while most of the avionics were developed by India
Of the 50 aircrafts are in line to be upgraded, only five will be sent to Russia. The rest will be refitted in India itself. This revamping is a part of the modernization program. The aircraft will be upgraded to the latest standards and equipped with modern avionics and various other capabilities. Sources from the defense ministry have said,” “As part of IAF’s modernization programme, we are going to upgrade 50 Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft with help of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from Russia,”
Sources say that the airframes of these aircrafts will be strengthened to handle the 290 km range of a BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. The Airforce is already upgrading its two main fighter aircraft fleet of 60 MiG 29s and is all set to sign a deal for around USD two billion deal with France to upgrade its 50 Mirage aircraft.
The Jaguar, MiG-27 and MiG-21 fleets have already been upgraded by the air force.
The Defense Ministry intends to upgrade its machines and will complete the program in the next three to four years.