India's most advanced fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30MKI is all set to get more teeth as the country is in talks to upgrade it with improved avionics.
The new addition would further enhance the combat capabilities of the SU-30. The Indian Air force (IAF) is holding talks with its Russian counterparts, while also finalising the procurement of 12 more Sukhois to replace the ones lost in crashes.
The Sukhois will be manufactured by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Additionally, India is discussing procurement of 21 additional MiG-29 jets that will cost around Rs 230 crore each, the Times of India reported.
Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria recently said, "The Sukhois will be upgraded in near future to further enhance their operational capabilities." Till now, IAF has inducted more than 250 of the 272 Sukhois originally contracted in batches from Russia for a cost of more than $12 billion. The bulk of these aircraft was produced by HAL.
Sukhois are ready for an overhaul with the inclusion of latest avionics, a much more powerful radar "almost as good as an AESA (active electronically scanned array) one" and state-of-the-art electronic warfare systems.
A source said, "There will be new computer systems for greater weapon control and integration of new missiles and PGMs (precision-guided munitions)."
Recently, the supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles were installed on forty-two of the twin-seated aircraft which has cruising of 3,200 km or a combat radius of about 1,500 km without mid-air refuelling.
In order to counter a possible two-front war against China and Pakistan, the IAF has deployed, based on the fourth-generation "air dominance", Sukhois in Halwara, Jodhpur, Sirsa, Bareilly, Tezpur, and Chabua.
Along with Mirage-2000, Sukhoi 30s has been one of the most potent fighters of India till 36 Rafale jets get inducted under the Rs 59,000 crore deal signed with France in 2016. The first Rafale will be handed over to India on the occasion of Air Force day.
Moreover, the Mirage-2000 aircraft are also being upgraded under an overhaul program worth Rs 17,547 crore. The up-gradation process was first signed in July 2011 at a cost of Rs 10,947 crore with French companies Dassault Aviation and Thales.