Friday, October 9, 2009

India set to discuss overhaul of Su-30 fighter jets with Russia

India will discuss the modernization of the Russian-made Su-30MKI aircraft in service with its air force during an upcoming military-technical cooperation meeting in Moscow, the country's Defense Ministry said on Friday. The Indian Air Force currently has 105 Su-30MKIs mainly deployed at airbases close to the Chinese border.

"The aircraft, contracted in 1996, are due for overhaul shortly and Russia has offered an upgrade of the aircraft with incorporation of the latest technologies during the major overhaul," the ministry said in a statement. The IAF originally ordered 50 Su-30MKI aircraft from Russia in 1996 and an additional 40 planes in 2007. India's Hindustani Aeronautics (HAL) was also contracted to build 140 aircraft in India between 2003 and 2017 under a licensed production agreement.

India previously said it was satisfied with the performance of Russian Su-30MKI fighters and has recently expressed interest in buying another 50 Su-30MKIs. The 9th meeting of the Russia-India Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation will be held on October 14-15 in Moscow and will be chaired by Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and his Indian counterpart A. K. Antony. The main focus of discussions during the meeting will be the extension of the existing bilateral agreement on military-technical cooperation for another 10 years, from 2011 to 2020.

Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission sessions are held annually and alternate between New Delhi and Moscow. The current cooperation program until 2010 comprises about 200 joint projects, including the modernization of the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier (formerly the Admiral Gorshkov) for the Indian navy, the transfer of technology for the licensed assembly of T-90 tanks in India, the production of BrahMos missiles and the purchase of Smerch MLRS by India.


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