India and Russia are expected to sign a new $3.5-billion deal for 40 SU-30MKI fighter aircraft upgraded to the Super Sukhoi configuration later this month when Russian president Vladimir Putin visits the country.
This latest version will have a new cockpit, state-of-the-art radar with stealth features and can carry heavier weapons including the air-launched version of the Brahmos cruise missile,” sources added.
Indian Air Force Sukhoi 30 MKI ( Image Courtesy - strangecosmos.com )
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is already flying the Sukhoi. If and when the Super Sukhois arrive, they will be 40 in number, taking the total Sukhoi strength to 270 aircraft. With the first delivery expected in 2014-15, the SU-30MKI will become IAF's leading fighter aircraft.
In recent times, IAF has increased the deployment of Sukhois in forward bases, perceiving growing threat from its neighbourhood. A squadron of SU-30MKIs was located at a forward base near the India-Pakistan border to replace an earlier squadron of MiG-23 fighters.
India first procured its first off-the-shelf SU-30s from Russia in 1997 and gradually developed Sukhoi Su-30MKIs at home after Hindustan Aeronautics Limited began production under licence from the Sukhoi Design Bureau. The SU-30MKI has a considerable share of Indian components in it.
News Courtesy - indianexpress.com