The top-of-the-line Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters jets of the Indian Air Force are on track to becoming even more lethal.
The IAF has set the ball rolling for an upgrade programme for the fighters in Russia that will involve advances in the weapons package, radar and avionics.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who is travelling to Moscow next week, will discuss the modernisation of the Su-30 fighter aircraft with his Russian counterpart A.E. Serdyukov during the 9th meeting of the India-Russia Inter Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) on October 14-15.
A defence ministry spokesperson said on Friday, “The Su-30 upgrade is a critical part of the Indian agenda. The Russians have offered to equip the aircraft with latest technologies.” The Su-30s aren’t due for an overhaul anytime soon. The first of these fighters inducted over a decade ago are scheduled for an overhaul only in 2013.
The IAF wants to ensure that there are no niggles in the programme.
A senior IAF official said on the condition of anonymity, “The IAF is aware of the impact of technology obsolescence on its fleet. Upgrades have to be carried out in time if we are to exploit a platform to its full potential.”
The IAF, which has contracted around 230 Su-30 fighters from Russia, currently operates five Sukhoi squadrons. Three are based in Pune while two operate from Bareilly. The IAF plans to deploy two additional squadrons each in Punjab and the northeast.