In its ambitions to emerge as a defence superpower and amid increasing challenges in South Asia, India looks to upgrade its Su-30MKI fighter fleet to contemporary standards of modern-day warfare and also export the fighter jet to selected nations.
As India looks to overhaul its Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fleet for better, India also hopes to make a mark in the defence export market by offering upgraded Sukhoi aircraft to friendly nations. The Russian aircraft is one of the best fighters the Indian Air Force has and now India hopes to sell the tweaked versions to strategic partners.
IAF ordered an upgrade for 272 Sukhoi fighters
Indian Air Force has ordered ‘Super Sukhoi’ upgrades for an entire fleet of 272 combat aircraft. The upgrades will mainly focus on enhancements across the dimensions of engines, weapons, combat capabilities, modern engine controls, beyond visual range warfare abilities and avionics.
The exact configurations are yet to be finalised but the parameters for the upgrade have been almost finalised. Officials feel that these upgrades will give India the key to the export market given the fact that Sukhoi fighters are used in large quantities all around the world.
The Indian versions of the Su-30 MKI’s have been co-developed by Sukhoi and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. HAL is optimistic that once the Sukhoi fighters are upgraded as per the plan, India will be able to provide upgrade solutions to the world and will hence find a global market.
Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Algeria are the major operators of Sukhoi Su-30 MKIS’s besides India. Malaysia could very well be interested to import the upgraded aircraft from India as it is already keen on a collaboration for this upgrade project.
As of now, India is the only one doing overhauls with the Su-30 MKI’s and being the first one to do so, if India achieves the desired results, it will Change India’s position from being a defence importer to a defence exporter.