Additional Sukhoi Su-30MKIs for IAF ?
Sukhoi Su-30MKIs were dominant once again during the Republic Day fly past in 2017, as they are in the Indian Air Force’s order of battle. Even as HAL’s Nasik Division continues to produce some 12 Su- 30MKIs per year, with some 190 numbers delivered so far, the last of those on current order are scheduled to be delivered by 2020. There are indications that an additional batch of 42 Su-30MKIs will follow. Meanwhile, clearance of the long planned Su-30MKI upgrade programme is imminent, with Chairman HAL Survarna Raju stating that an official announcement would be made in this regard shortly. The upgraded Su-30MKIs would incorporate new displays, avionics and an AESA radar, with HAL assuming leadership in the programme.
Tejas LCA production ramped up
Series production of the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) is being ramped up at HAL’s Bangalore Complex, with two separate facilities undertaking this task. While the new hangars built for the purpose near the NFTC building will be tasked for production of upto eight LCAs annually, the hangars at Aircraft Division earlier producing Kirans and lately Hawks, are gearing up for manufacture of, again, upto eight LCAs a year. The first three series production LCAs delivered to the IAF for its first squadron (No.45) have been delivered while SP-4 and SP-5 are currently being completed, the first mentioned slated to fly “shortly” while the latter is now being equipped at the erstwhile Kiran final assembly hangar.
Orders for the first batch of 20 LCA Mk.Is are to be followed by a second tranche of 20 aircraft even as HAL’s ARDC are working on development of the Mk.IA, 83 of which have been approved for acquisition by the DAC.
Expansion of Army Aviation Corps
According to authoritative sources, the Indian Army’s Aviation Corps are likely to acquire three new types of helicopters, some in replacement of the ageing Cheetahs and Chetaks in inventory as also augmenting of attack squadrons with new generation Apache attack helicopters. These would be in addition to the 22 Boeing AH-64 Apache multirole combat helicopters earlier ordered for the Indian Air Force.
The Kamov Ka-226T, to be coproduced by HAL would be in addition to the indigenous Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) which are under development by HAL, with the Indian Army as prime operator ( see additional item in this Issue).
IAF Hawk AJTs reach 100,000 flight hours