December 26, 2012
India and Russia on Dec. 24 reinforced their defense ties by signing weapons deals worth around $4.5 billion, including pacts for procuring 42 new Su-30 MKI combat aircraft and 71 Mi-17V5 medium-lift military helicopters.
New Delhi will buy kits for the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters for licensed production by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).
“The new Su-30 MKI fighters deal, estimated at nearly $3 billion, will add to the 230 Sukhois earlier contracted,” a defense ministry official says. This will take the total number of Su-30 MKI fighters in the Indian Air Force (IAF) to 272 in the next four to five years with 170 of them already in operation in the force.
The official adds that these multi-role frontline aircraft also could be equipped with Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.
HAL says the latest contract for the Su-30 MKI fighter jet has increased the company’s total order book for the twin-seater aircraft to 222. “We have already delivered 119 of the total to the IAF,” Chairman R. K. Tyagi says.
Russia also will sell India 71 MI-17 V-5 military helicopters worth $1.5 billion under a follow on order by the IAF for the new ‘V5’ version. Under the contract, 59 of the helicopters will be bought for the IAF, while the remaining 12 will be used by the paramilitary forces.
“The order for the 71 Mi-17 helicopters is an increase from a February 2010 agreement to procure 59 such helos,” the defense ministry official says.
These helicopters would be used by the IAF to replace its existing fleet of older versions of MI-17 and MI-8 aircraft in its inventory.
The MI-17s will add to the 80 of these helicopters already inducted into the Indian armed forces.