Moscow: An additional 42 Sukhoi frontline
fighters will be provided to India by Russia under an
agreement inked between the two sides during Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh`s visit here.
With this pact, the total number of acquired or
contracted aircraft by India in various stages of manufacture
of the frontline Su-30 MKI fighters would increase to 272.
The agreement for the upgraded Sukhois was signed by
Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and Russian Federal
Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Director M A
Dmitriev in the presence of Prime Minister Singh and
President Dmitry Medvedev after their talks at the 12th annual
Indo-Russian Summit at the Kremlin yesterday.
The pact, which was among the five agreements initialled
between the two countries, came against the backdrop of a
crash of an Indian Air Force`s Sukhoi-30 near Pune.
The mishap, in which the two pilots ejected safely,
raised some technical questions and also led to the grounding
of the entire fleet of 120 planes pending investigations.
An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) and a general
contract were signed in 2000 for the manufacture of 140 Su-30
MKI aircraft by HAL. A 2007 protocol envisaged manufacture of
a further 40 aircraft.
Earlier, 50 Su-30 aircraft were purchased in phases prior
to signing of IGA and deliveries started in the late 90s.
The latest version is expected to include a new cockpit,
an upgraded radar and certain stealth features to avoid radar
Significantly, the upgraded Sukhoi-30 MKIs will be able
to carry a heavier weapons load, especially the airborne
version of the Brahmos cruise missile.
The first delivery of the upgraded Sukhois is expected in
2014 and the last by 2018.