IAF's Sukhoi Fighter Jets Set for Rs 60,000 Crore Boost: All You Need to Know
IAF's Sukhoi Fighter Jets Set for Rs 60,000 Crore Boost: All You Need to Know

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is gearing up for a massive enhancement of its Sukhoi fighter jet fleet, with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) leading the charge. This whopping Rs 60,000 crore project aims to ramp up the capabilities of the Su-30MKI aircraft by integrating state-of-the-art upgrades across various systems.

Private Sector Collaboration and Indigenous Innovations

HAL's Chairman and Managing Director, CB Ananthakrishnan, has confirmed significant involvement from the private sector in this ambitious project. HAL will spearhead the upgrade efforts, which will unfold in two phases. The initial phase will focus on installing advanced avionics and radars, followed by enhancements to the flight control systems.

Key Upgrades for the Sukhoi-30MKI

India's commitment to self-reliance in defence is at the forefront of this project, with plans to replace several Russian-origin components with indigenous systems. The upgrades include a new indigenous radar system to improve target detection and engagement, along with an upgraded electronic warfare system to counter threats and disrupt enemy communication.

Boosting Targeting Capabilities

Integration of indigenous infrared search and track systems will substantially enhance both air-to-air and air-to-ground targeting capabilities. The Indian Air Force is gearing up to kickstart the integration work within the year, with around 90 fighters set for upgrade in the initial phase, all to be carried out domestically.

Exploring Global Opportunities

Given the substantial number of Su-27/30 type aircraft worldwide, countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Algeria pose significant export potential for these upgrades. India's initial order of 272 Su-30MKI jets from Russia forms the backbone of the Air Force's fleet, with an additional order for 12 jets cleared last year.

Approval from Defence Acquisition Council

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has granted the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the indigenous upgrade of Su-30 MKI Aircraft by HAL, marking a crucial milestone in this endeavor.

Future Prospects and Russia's Role

The Su-30MKI fleet has been undergoing continuous upgrades for over a decade, integrating new weapons and sensors. Indigenous additions to weaponry include BrahMos and Astra air-to-air missiles, with plans for further integration of new generation anti-radiation missiles (NGARMs).

Introducing the New Engine for Su-30MKI

Russia has been advocating for India to consider the AL-41F-1S engine for the Sukhoi-30MKI fleet. This engine offers a thrust of 142.2 kN, a significant improvement over the current AL-31FP engines with 122.6 kN of thrust.

The upgrade of the Su-30MKI fighter jet fleet marks a pivotal moment in bolstering India's defence capabilities and advancing self-reliance in defence manufacturing. Successful execution of this project is poised to elevate India's standing in the global defence market while ensuring the readiness of the Air Force's fighter fleet.

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