Negotiations for Rafale aircraft acquisition are "on," says Indian Defence Minister Jaitley | Dassault's offer for ToT is also compliant to requirements, he said in Parliament July 22 | Notably, Air Chief Arup Raha had told India Strategic recently to expect an announcement "sooner than later" | Indian Budget 2014: Defence gets US$ 38 billion (Rs 229,000 crores) | Approx. $ 16 billion (Rs 95000 crores) should go towards overall modernisation and equipment | Finance (and Defence) Minister Arun Jaitley describes defence as a priority | Budget 2014 is higher by $ 4 billion over Budget 2013 | Welfare measures for military and paramilitary personnel also being strengthened | Defence acquisition procedures will be given speed, Jaitley saysFDI in Defence increased from 26% but limited to 49% | Limitation same for FDI in airlines, due to oppossition from Indian industrialists | Boeing, Emirates Finalize Order for 150 777Xs | US to sell 22 Harpoon Block II anti-shipping missiles to Indian Navy | India Puts Five Foreign Satellites in Space June 30 | Prime Minister Modi describes the Successful Launch as Global Endorsement of India's Space Capability | ISRO's PSLV rocket carried French, German, Canadian (two) and Singapore satellites | India has launched 40 foreign satellites to date since 1999 | India Decontrols Rules for Private Companies to make Defence Goods | Weapon Systsems like Aircraft, Tanks, Ships and Munitions will need Licences though | Indian Army's acquisition of 39 Boeing AH 64D Apaches also cleared | Indian Ministry of Defence in quick clearance mode for pending acquisition proposals | Defence Minister Arun Jaitley says armed forces will be given full support | US Air Force Awards Sikorsky $ 1.28 billion Contract to Develop New Combat Search & Rescue Helicopter | Lockheed Martin will fit major mission systems for the CSAR helicopter | New aircraft will be developed around Army's UH 60M Black Hawk stealthy variant used in Operation Geronimo | Total CSAR programme cost for 112 helicopters to touch $ 8 billion, says USAF | French Nexter ties with India's L&T and Ashok Leyland to make artillery guns for Indian Army | RUAG ties with Indian TASL to produce Dornier 228 NG for exports | TASL will initially make fuselages, and then possibly the full Dornier 228 - 212 NG aircraft | RUAG gives orders for 12 fuselages to Tata Advanced Systems Ltd | TASL also makes Sikorsky S 92 fuselages at Hyderabad in India | Boeing-led Missile Defense Team Achieves Intercept in Complex Exoatmospheric Flight Test | Boeing 737 MAX LEAP-1B Engine Begins Ground Testing | RUAG develops world's first Electronic Flare Simulator for testing and training |
 

Sukhoi Su-30SM: An Indian Gift to Russia’s Air Force

 

 
 
By Konstantin Bogdanov Published: March 2012
 
 
 
   

Moscow. Russia’s Defense Ministry has ordered 30 heavy Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter planes. Given that the same model has been exported to India for more than 10 years, this choice seems both logical and pragmatic.

 

Thirty 30’s

The Defense Ministry and the Irkut Corporation, an affiliate of the United Aircraft Corporation, have signed a supply contract for 30 Su-30SM multirole fighter aircraft, a Defense Ministry spokesman told journalists Thursday, March 22. “Under the contract, Irkut Corporation will build for Russia’s Ministry of Defense 30 planes of this type by 2015,” he said.

Rumors that Irkut, a long-standing exporter, may supply several dozen fighter aircraft to the Russian Air Force began circulating late last year. Now the rumor has become a reality – a contract in black and white.

But why did the Defense Ministry choose the Su-30’s? After all, they have been mostly supplied to customers abroad rather than to the Russian Armed Forces, where just a few planes of this type are in use.

The Su-30, properly speaking, is an entire family of aircraft and the most famous Russian-made (not to be confused with Soviet-made) fighter plane outside of Russia. It was developed in the Soviet Union on the basis of the Su-27UB combat trainer aircraft as a command plane for Air Defense air regiments flying ordinary Su-27 interceptor aircraft.

In 1993, its export version, the Su-30K, was developed, sparking record demand and the sale of several hundred planes.

The family is further subdivided into two parts: the “Chinese” Su-30MKK/MK2, which were produced in Komsomolsk-on-Amur and exported to Venezuela, Indonesia, Uganda, Vietnam, and of course China; and the “Indian” Su-30MKI, manufactured in Irkutsk and purchased by India, Algeria and Malaysia.

The model ordered by the Russian military is a “localized” version of the “Indian” Su-30MKI. Earlier, Komsomolsk-on-Amur delivered to the Air Force four “localized” Su-30MK2’s.

A flying multi-tasker

As a basic platform for the multirole heavy fighter aircraft, the Su-30MKI is remarkable primarily for its universality. It boasts a so-called “open architecture”, making it relatively easy to add new systems in the basic electronic equipment and to use advanced guided weapons (supplied by different manufacturers).

The Su-30MKI sports a Russian radar and optic locator, French navigation and heads-up display systems, Israeli EW and weapon-guidance systems, and Indian computers.

The “Chinese” line is based on a different logic that prescribes parallel installation of new systems that fall short of full integration.

Most likely, the military is attracted by how easy it is to add different weapons and equipment to the Su-30MKI, transforming it into an attack fighter-bomber, a heavy interceptor aircraft, or something else.

Who placed the order?

It is hard to pinpoint who exactly ordered these 30 aircraft. The contract was signed by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Irkut President Alexei Fedorov. After the signing ceremony, Serdyukov commented that the planes would “increase the Air Force’s combat power.”

By contrast, Fedorov went on record as saying last summer that the Defense Ministry was going to order 40 aircraft. Later the press reported, citing the Irkutsk aircraft plant’s general director Alexander Veprev, that the deliveries were likely to be made in two installments: the first 28 aircraft were intended for the Air Force and another 12 as an option for naval aviation. Air Force C-in-C Alexander Zelin confirmed the figure of 28 in fall 2011.

As we can see, the first batch of Sukhoi-30’s has been purchased. The remaining 12, as some military sources intimated to the press, were intended for the Black Sea Fleet’s naval aviation.

Given that naval aviation has seen cuts in combat aircraft, it seems logical to reinforce it with heavy Su-30SM two-seaters that are efficient both in air-to-air combat and against ground and surface targets.

Thus far, however, there is no mention of plans to buy the Su-30 for the Navy. Possibly the option will be realized later.

Exporters’ courtesy

There is another simple explanation for choice of the Su-30MKI. Irkut has been churning out these planes for 10 years thanks to its completely streamlined production method. This means that its products are of high quality, relatively cheap (which pleases the Defense Ministry in particular) and will be supplied on time.

It is one thing if, in order to make 30 aircraft, you have to breathe life into an idling plant, to fine-tune (or develop anew) your technological method, buy additional equipment, and – still worse – hire personnel. But it’s quite another if you have been manufacturing standardized aircraft for years and years and can easily divert your workforce to produce an “improved” modification for your own country’s Air Force. The cost of this batch on the side is dramatically lower.

This approach (buying quickly and on the cheap what can be produced immediately) has been growing in popularity in the Russian military. We have mentioned the Su-30M2 combat trainer aircraft intended for the Russian Air Force. The same goes for the carrier-based MiG-29K, which in its present form was developed for the Indian Navy.

This approach is logical in its own way. The military expects certain fundamentally new models that are being tested with some degree of success. The Air Force is eying the T-50, the fifth-generation fighter aircraft, and the Navy has been trying to get into shape its Lada project involving the construction of non-nuclear submarines. The Land Forces have boycotted the purchases of all currently existing armor models, urging manufacturers to invent something totally new.

In the meantime, the Armed Forces will buy cheap, mass-produced, well-equipped, if ordinary, military hardware, like the Su-30SM.

(RIA Novosti)
(The author is RIA Novosti military affairs columnist )

 
     
     
   
 
Top Stories
Indian Navy LCA to soon begin test flights
Boeing Forecasts Demand for 36,770 New Airplanes Valued at $5.2 Trillion
Boeing, Emirates Finalize Order for 150 777Xs
IAF plans early induction of Rafale
VVIP Helicopter: IAF to upgrade Mi-17 V5
NASA and Boeing Sign Space Launch System Contract
Airbus takes a leap with A320neo
Airbus Ready with Contract for A330 MRTT for IAF
BrahMos marks Grand Success with $ 5 billion worth of Orders
Tata group to Produce Dornier 228 NG Fuselage and Wings
US Navy has its first four star Lady Admiral
US to sell more Harpoon missiles for Indian Navy
Boeing Offers Next-Generation KC-46 Tanker in Korea Competition
Boeing Delivers 1,500th 747
Indian Navy sends Warship to US for Exercise
Indian Tata group produces first Advanced Composite Floor for Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Northrop Grumman Receives $3.6 Billion Multiyear Contract for 25 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Aircraft
India puts five foreign satellites into orbit
Sikorsky Awarded US Air Force Contract to Develop New Combat Rescue Helicopter
Nexter, L&T and Ashok Leyland team up for Indian Army's MGS Artillery Programme
 
     
 Home | Contact Us| In the Press| Links| Downloads
© 2008-14, India Strategic. All rights reserved.