More on the planned order by India 18 additional fighters Su-30MKI
The newspaper "Kommersant" in the article by Ivan Safronov "Sukhoi aircraft" firmly settled in India. Delhi has been buying 18 more fighter assembly kits, ”writes that India may purchase additional kits for assembling Su-30MKI fighter jets on its territory from 2020. The fact of receiving the relevant application was confirmed yesterday by “Kommersant” in the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC). According to unofficial information, we are talking about 18 sets with a total cost of over $ 1 billion. This purchase will allow the Indian military to increase the number of fighter squadrons of the Air Force equipped with this type of aircraft to 14. In turn, the Irkutsk Aviation Plant (IAP) export orders will load capacity to the start of mass production of the civil airliner MS-21.
The first information about Delhi’s desire to purchase 18 additional Su-30MKI vehicle kits for assembly at the enterprise of the state aircraft building corporation Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) appeared in the Indian newspaper Business Standard. According to the publication, the Indian Air Force is expecting to receive the first sets as early as 2020, the total amount of the transaction is estimated at about $ 1.1 billion. According to the top manager of one of the aviation industry enterprises, the parties will have to conduct several more rounds of negotiations to finalize the financial parameters of the transaction but “there are no serious obstacles in view of the streamlined interaction scheme on the Su-30MKI theme”. Rosoboronexport (a special exporter of Russian weapons) did not comment on Kommersant’s information. The FSMTC, without going into details, has officially confirmed the fact of receiving an application from the Indian side for the purchase of kits for assembling Su-30MKI Kommersant fighters.
Cooperation between Russia and India on Su-30MKI fighters can be called very successful: for the entire duration of the program, IAP (part of Irkut Corporation) delivered 272 airplanes to the Indian Air Force (50 ready-made and 222 sets assembled at HAL in Nasik). This number of fighters was enough for the Indian Air Force to equip 13 combat squadrons, and an additional 18 fighters will allow to form another one. This measure is partly forced: in the Indian media earlier plans were made to abandon the use of old MiG-21, MiG-27 and Jaguar aircraft, which are in service with a total of eight squadrons, for the next three years. According to the Indian media, it is not possible to replace them with Tejas own-designed fighters because of the need to bring the vehicle to the required military characteristics. Therefore, the purchase of an additional batch of Su-30MKI is the best solution, says the source “Kommersant” in the field of military-technical cooperation: Indian pilots know this car, and in terms of price and quality, IAZ’s products outright win against competitors, including the French fighter Rafale.
According to Konstantin Makienko, an expert at the Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, the purchase of the Su-30MKI for the Indian military is "practically without any alternative." “This is not only the only way to fight the drop in the size of the Indian Air Force fleet, but also, perhaps, the only real way to load the HAL corporation’s capacity, since the products of other players in the arms market are supplied directly and do not provide for localization in India,” the expert says.
For Russian aircraft manufacturers, the new contract is not only important because of finances, one of the Kommersant interlocutors says: the plant in Irkutsk needs to load capacity before the start of the serial deployment of its key civilian program, the medium-haul airliner MS-21. Vice Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said earlier that the completion of certification tests of the aircraft is scheduled for the second half of 2020. Given the already concluded export agreements for Su-30SM-type airplanes with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Myanmar, and the plans of the Russian military to contract at least 60 such fighters in the coming years, the task of loading IAZ’s capacity is quite realistic, says a high-ranking Kommersant source. in the aviation industry. “In our plans we proceed from the assumption that the Su-30MKI program will be continued, we are ready to meet the needs of our partners in the number of vehicle sets they need,” he stressed.