India to Receive First Delivery of Russian Fighter Planes
London, 2nd November:
India will receive the first batch of ten 32 Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighters from Russia late next year, while the remaining will arrive before the end of 2003, `Jane's Defence Weekly' reported.
New Delhi had ordered 40 Su-30MKI fighters under a 1.3bn US dollar contract signed with Moscow in November 1996, but only eight aircraft have reached India till now.
Delivered in 1997, these aircaft were of the preliminary Su-30K configuration, and were not equipped with advanced features such as forward canards, thrust-victor control engines and advanced avionics, the report said.
Russia's Irkutsk Aircraft Production Association is expected to upgrade all 18 of these Su-30KS to Su-30MKI standard after 2003 through its role as prime agent for the Indian contract.
The work could also be carried out at one of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's facilities, as the company is expected to launch licensed production of the Su-30MKI after 2004, it said.
The Indian Ministry of Defence and Russia's Rosvoorouzhenie State Export Company are expected this month to conclude a contract allowing India to produce up to 150 Su-30MKI's, the report said quoting diplomatic sources in Moscow.
An inter-governmental agreement covering the deal was signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin's official visit to India early last month. The 20-year accord does not include re-export rights, it said.
Under a separate deal, India on October 19 received its first four of 40 MIL Mi-17-IV (Mi-8MTV-2) transport helicopters ordered at a cost of 170m dollars earlier this year.
Russia's Kazan Helicopter Plant is due to complete deliveries of the remaining aircraft by late 2001, after which all 40 will undergo an upgradation [as received] programme to include the installation of 12 Vikhr-M (AT-16) medium-range air-to-surface missiles. The laser- guided weapon has a maximum range of about 10 km.