• Russia and India Negotiating Su-30 Combat Jet Support Deal

    Russia and India are close to signing a long-term support agreement for the fleet of Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF). It includes an improved schedule for the delivery of spares from Russia, local manufacturing of some spares and the creation of logistics hub for the aircraft at the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) production facility in Bangalore. India has contracted for the delivery of more than 300 of these aircraft.

    The Su-30MKI is a specialized variant of the Su-30MK-model series and was developed and built at the Irkut factory in Russia. It features several modifications that differentiate it from the original Su-30 design. These include a set of canard foreplanes and a thrust vector control (TVC) module coupled to the aircraft’s fly-by-wire flight control system; the N011M passive electronically scanning array (PESA) radar set produced by the NIIP design bureau in Moscow; and a mix of Israeli, French and Indian-produced avionics.

    It is this unique configuration of this aircraft, which is different from the other Su-30MK variants sold for export, that complicates the logistics chain for this aircraft, say Russian aerospace specialists familiar with the program. Indian officials had previously expressed dissatisfaction with the declining availability rates for the Su-30MKI, but have seen improvements in those numbers recently.

    “Sukhoi availability, which had slipped to 46 percent, is today above 63 percent,” said the Indian defense minister, Manohar Parrikar, in a statement to Indian news outlets. “Our status with Russia is much better than two years back. We have signed many of the support contracts this year. Very few are left. We are working on long-term arrangements, including manufacturing some of the [Su-30MKI] spares in India. Earlier, there were some problems due to the need to change their [Russian] laws.” Mel Blount Authentic Jersey

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