HAL makes Sukhoi Su-30MKI Fighters fleet again

HAL makes Sukhoi Su-30MKI Fighters fleet again

HAL offers 40 more Sukhois at one-third of Rafale’s cost
The Indian Air Force is paying Rs 11.25 billion per Rafale, excluding the price of weapons and logistics
With the Sukhoi-30MKI fighter — the backbone of the air force fleet — nearing the end of its production run, its manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), is taking up a case to build 40 more. If the defence ministry accepts HAL’s proposal, the inventory of the Russian fighter would be enhanced from the planned 272 to 312.
With HAL offering to price the additional Su-30s at just Rs 4.25 billion, the fighter will be barely one-third the cost of the Rafale. According to a Business Standard analysis, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is paying Rs 11.25 billion per Rafale, excluding the price of weapons and logistics.
HAL Chairman T Suvarna Raju said: “We will offer a very competitive price. Since 2010, we have been delivering the Su-30 at Rs 4.25 billion. We can deliver another three squadrons at that same price.” So, the IAF will pay Rs 170 billion for 40 additional Su-30s. 
However, that would involve buying the fighters in ready-to-assemble kits from Russia and putting them together in Nashik. “HAL has already absorbed the technology for building and supporting the Su-30s. Now, the aim is to build those three new squadrons as quickly, and as cheaply, as possible,” said Raju.
Rationalising the proposal for 40 additional Su-30s, Raju said they were needed to carry the BrahMos air-launched cruise missile (ALCM).
“We are required to modify 40-odd Su-30s to carry the BrahMos ALCM. Instead of upgrading older fighters, with a shorter residual lifespan, it would be better to build three more squadrons of Sukhois with the capability to carry BrahMos missiles,” said Raju. 
The air-launched version of the BrahMos has been downsized to 8 metres and 2,560 kgs. Even so, mounting it on a Su-30 requires reinforcing the aircraft’s underbelly and installing a heavy-duty mounting station.  After years of development, the BrahMos was successfully test-fired from a Su-30 in November.
Ministry sources indicate a proposal to build more Su-30s would be considered positively, given the shortfall of IAF fighter squadrons. HAL is currently building the last 23 Su-30s of the 272 it was mandated to build. The IAF’s first 50 Su-30s were built in Russia. 
Even as HAL Nashik builds the last Su-30s on order, HAL and Sukhoi have negotiated the upgrade of the Sukhoi fleet.  HAL officials said they wanted to be the lead agency, but Sukhoi has indicated it wanted a 50 per cent share in this lucrative contract to upgrade the fighter’s avionics, including radar, glass cockpit displays, electronic warfare systems, warning systems and jammers. “The IAF has already frozen its upgrade requirements. We are now waiting for the commercial proposal from Russia,” said Raju.  
HAL estimates an avionics upgrade for the Su-30 would cost upwards of Rs 1 billion per aircraft, placing the cost of upgrading 312 fighters at Rs 312 billion. Officials said the upgrade would have two distinct parts. In Phase I, Sukhoi would take over some IAF Su-30s and use them as prototypes to install and certify new-generation avionics and weapons upgrades. HAL would install those upgrades in the entire fleet. Phase II, which would involve India-specific enhancements, would be designed and developed by HAL and also incorporated on to the fighter by HAL.
The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is a multirole combat fighter aircraft jointly developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). Based on the Su-30 fighter aircraft, Su-30MKI is equipped with thrust vectoring control and canards.
The development of the Su-30MKI for the IAF began in 1995. Sukhoi and Irkutsk Aircraft Production Association (now known as Irkut Corporation) were initially responsible for the development and production of the aircraft respectively.
Sukhoi built two prototypes of the Su-30MKI between 1995 and 1998. The first prototype, Su-30I-1, made its first flight in July 1997. Production began at the Irkutsk plant in 2000. The first pre-production aircraft completed its maiden flight in November 2000. India signed a MoU with Russia in October 2000, to start the license production of Su-30MKIs at HAL’s plant.
Orders and deliveries of the multirole fighter aircraft

“In November 1996, India placed an order with Sukhoi for eight Su-30K fighters and 32 Su-30MKI aircraft.”
In November 1996, India placed an order with Sukhoi for eight Su-30K fighters and 32 Su-30MKI aircraft. The aircraft, fitted with enhanced avionics, engines and weapons, were delivered in batches.
In December 2000, HAL signed a contract with Rosoboronexport for the license production of Su-30MKI aircraft. As part of the contract, HAL will produce a total of 140 Su-30MKIs in four phases to complete the programme by 2015.
The first ten Russian-made Su-30MKI aircraft were delivered to the IAF in mid-2002. The aircraft were inducted into service in September 2002. The second batch of 12 aircraft was handed over in 2003.
The first Su-30MKI assembled by HAL was rolled out in November 2004. The first batch of two aircraft was delivered to the IAF in March 2005. The IAF placed an order with HAL for 40 Su-30MKIs in 2007.
In December 2012, HAL signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence and Rosoboronexport for the production and delivery of 42 Su-30MKI aircraft, bringing the total number of orders to 222. The Indian Air Force operates more than 150 Su-30MKIs, as of January 2013.
Su-30MKI design and avionics

The Su-30MKI aircraft incorporates an aerodynamic airframe made of titanium and high intensity aluminium alloys. The twin stabilisers and horizontal tail consoles are joined to tail beams. The semi-monocoque fuselage head includes the cockpit, radar sections and the avionics bay. The section between the engine nacelles houses the equipment bay, fuel storage and the brake parachute mechanism. The aircraft has a length of 21.9m, wingspan of 14.7m and a height of 6.4m. The maximum take-off weight of Su-30MKI is 38,800kg.
“The Su-30MKI fleet of IAF will be fitted with air-launched version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.”
The tandem glass cockpit of the Su-30MKI accommodates two pilots. The forward cockpit is equipped with an integrated avionics suite incorporating Elbit Su 967 head-up display (HUD), seven active-matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCD) and primary cockpit instrumentation from Thales. The HAL-built aircraft are equipped with multifunction displays (MFD) supplied by Samtel Display Systems.
The aircraft integrates a fly by wire (FBW) flight control system. A large monochromatic display screen installed in the rear cockpit provides air-to-ground missile guidance. The Su-30MKI is also equipped with a N011M passive electronically scanned array radar, OLS-30 laser-optical locator system and Litening target designation pod to guide air-to-surface missile and laser guided munitions.
The N011M will be replaced with new Zhuk AESA (active, electronically scanned array) radar.
Weapon systems and countermeasures

The Su-30MKI is armed with a 30mm Gsh-30-1 cannon with 150 rounds of ammunition. The aircraft features 12 hardpoints capable of carrying external stores of up to 8t. The aircraft can launch a range of air-to-surface missiles, including Kh-29L/T/TYe, Kh-31A/P, Kh-59M and Nirbhay.
The Su-30MKI fleet of IAF will be fitted with air-launched version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles. The BrahMos can strike targets within the range of 290km.
The aircraft can also carry Vympel-built R-27R, R-73 and R-77 air-to-air missiles, as well as rocket pods, KAB-500 and KAB-1500 laser-guided bombs.
The Su-30MKI is fitted with a tarang radar warning receiver (RWR) indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The aircraft also integrates chaff / flare dispensers and active jammers.
Sukhoi Su-30MKI engine
The Su-30MKI is powered by two Al-31FP turbojet engines. Each engine generates a full afterburn thrust of 12,500kgf. The power plant, equipped with thrust vector control, provides a maximum speed of Mach 1.9 in horizontal flight and a rate of climb of 300m/s.
The aircraft has a maximum unrefuelled flight range of 3,000km. The in-flight refuelling system of Su-30MKI provides a maximum range of 8,000km with two refuellings.

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