Modernising its fighter jet fleet, the Indian Air Force is going to upgrade its SU-30 MKI combat aircraft with the help of Russia.
"As part of IAF's modernisation programme, we are going to upgrade 50 Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft with help of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from Russia," Defence Ministry sources told PTI here.
"Su-30 MKIs have been inducted into the IAF in four phases. The ones to be upgraded are from the first phase and the project is likely to be completed in the next three to four years," they added.
Of the 50 aircraft, around five would be sent to the Russian facilities while the remaining would undergo upgrading within India, they said.
Under the modernisation programme, the aircraft will be upgraded to the latest standards and equipped with modern avionics and various other capabilities.
"The airframe of these aircraft would also be strengthened to equip them with air-launched version of the 290 km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile," the sources said.
The SU-30s were inducted into the IAF in late 90s and at present six squadrons of the aircraft are in service.
The first squadron was of the Su-30 was of the 'K' variant but later they were also upgraded to the latest MKI version. Till now, the IAF has placed orders for around 280 of these heavy air-superiority aircraft of which over 100 have been inducted.
IAF is already upgrading its two main fighter aircraft fleet of 60 MiG-29s and is about to sign an around USD two billion deal with France to modernise its 50 Mirage aircraft. The Jaguar, MiG-27 and MiG-21 fleets have already been upgraded by the force.