Saturday, August 20, 2011

Indian Sukhoi 30MKI to be upgraded into “Super Sukhoi”

Moscow: The Indian Sukhoi 30MKI fighter aircraft will be upgraded with certain fifth generation aircraft characteristics to convert it into a “Super Sukhoi”, Alexy Fedorov, President and Chairman of the Board of Irkut Corporation of Russia announced during the MAKS 2011 show here.

India has five squadrons of Sukhoi 30MKIs numbering around 100 aircraft which are to be upgraded into the “Super Sukhoi” format. The upgrade will apply not only to the aircraft in service with the Indian Air Force (IAF) but also to those yet to be delivered to India and to be licence-manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Fedorov said.

The upgrade will include a new cockpit, an upgraded radar and certain stealth characteristics to make it less visible to enemy radar than the present Sukhoi 30. Most significantly, the aircraft will be able to carry a heavier weapons load including the airborne version of the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile, he added.

Fedorov said the Super Sukhoi will be a potent aircraft similar in features to a fifth generation aircraft, however, he refused to provide s specific details of the upgrade stating that the exact nature of the upgrade was still to be decided between the Indian and Russian sides. Discussions are currently on regarding various aspects of the proposed upgrade, he said.

The Irkut chief did not provide any indication of the price of the upgrade project. However, going by the general cost trends of similar upgrades, the price could run close to a billion dollars. The Super Sukhoi would be a potent weapons platform offering both ground attack of precision targets and air superiority roles.

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