March 06, 2013
Delivery of Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters to the Indian air force (IAF) is likely to be delayed due to development issues.
State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is currently undertaking the production of 222 Su-30 aircraft. HAL was supposed to start delivery of the all-weather air-dominance fighters to the country’s defense forces by 2015.
But now this may not happen “as per schedule,” according to India’s junior defense minister, Jitendra Singh.
Besides the production of SU-30 MKI fighter aircraft, HAL is juggling production of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Advanced Jet Trainer (Hawk), Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT), Advance Light Helicopter (ALH), Light Combat Helicopter, Light Utility Helicopter and Dornier-228. Some of these other programs are also experiencing delays, according to the ministry.
The Sukhoi Su-30MKI, a variant of the Sukhoi Su-30, is being jointly developed by Russia’s Sukhoi and HAL for the IAF.
Last December, India signed a nearly $3 billion deal with Russia to procure 42 new Su-30MKI combat aircraft in addition to the 230 Sukhois earlier contracted. This will take the total number of Su-30MKI fighters in the IAF to 272 over the next four to five years, with 170 Sukhoi fighters already in operation in the force.
The Su-30MKI is fitted with two turbojet AL-31FP engines and features state-of-the-art avionics.
According to a HAL official, 157 Indian vendors are involved in providing 13,350 components of the Su-30MKI, while another 19,450 components are manufactured at HAL’s Nasik and Koraput divisions.
Su-30MKI photo: Sukhoi