Russian Air Force Keen to Exchange “Sukhoi” Combat Experience with IAF
ZHUKOVSKY, MOSCOW. The Russian Aerospace Force is keen to share its Syria combat experience with the Ind ian Air Force (IAF) which has the richest operational experience in flying Su30MKI, a top defence official told India Strategic on sidelines of the MAKS-2017 International Aerospace Show. The Russian Aerospace Force is widely using Sukhoi’s Su-30SM - a localised version of Su-30MKI in the Syria campaign.
“Of course! We are keen to swap experience. We always keep contact with the Indian colleagues; we have an intergovernmental commission, which on our side is headed by our Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. We constantly meet and discuss the issues of mutual interest. As for the Su-30SM, it showed very well and in Syria and is very well proven in combat, and Su-35 also,” Russian Deputy Defence Minister General Yuri Borisov said.
Su-30MKI was jointly developed by Sukhoi and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to meet the specific requirements of the IAF and was inducted in 2000. Impressed by its performance envelop the Russian Defence Ministry only 12 years later ordered first batch of 30 Su- 30SM with Russian avionics and sensors, a variant of MKI sans French, Israeli avionics for the IAF. As of July 2017, the Russian Aerospace Forces have 70 Su-30SMs as compared to IAF’s 200 odd Su-30MKIs and the Indian pilots over a decade longer experience of operating this aircraft.
In September India and Russia are holding their first ever Tri-Services war games in far eastern parts of Russia, which would also involve Su-30SM multi-role fighters.
“SUPER SUKHOI” PROJECT YET TO TAKE-OFF
India is yet to take a final call on the Russian offer to upgrade its existing Su-30MKI fleet to make it at par with Su-35, an aircraft “very close” to the fifth generation fighter, a senior official of Russia’s Rostec defence industry conglomerate said.
“As far as I know the issue was raised at talks between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Modi in St. Petersburg last month. The Indian Prime Minister said that the Indian side needs more time to evaluate its strategy of development and how to spend money,” Rostec’s Director of International Cooperation and Regional Policy Victor Kladov said responding to India Strategic on the sidelines of the MAKS-2017 International Aerospace Show. Earlier, at Aero India 2017 Air Show in Bangalore in February HAL CMD T. Suvarna Raju had told that a final decision on “Super Sukhoi” will be taken within 90 days. Mr Kladov, who had led the Russian delegation to Bangalore, had extensive talks on the issue with senior IAF and HAL officials on the sidelines of Aero India 2017.
“We are offering a package for modernising the Su- 30MKI aircraft. It will obtain new capabilities; it will be very close to the fifth generation aircraft in capabilities. This is a deep modernisation, everything should be changed - engine, computers, radar etc.,” he said.
The upgraded Super Sukhois will include a modernised cockpit, AESA radar and will have advanced stealth capabilities. “The Indian Air Force has to evaluate its strategy and then take a decision,” Mr Kladov said.
Su-30SM multi-role fighter of the Russian Air Force
Su-30MKI of the IAF: to be upgraded under the Super Sukhoi Project