SOURCE: AMIT PANDEY/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
India’s plans to equip its SU-30MKI fleet with Meteor beyond visual range missiles recently suffered hiccups when European manufacturers informed the Indian government that they would not integrate their weapon on any Israeli or Russian platform.
Such decision will have a direct impact on India’s LCA-Tejas fleet and SU-30MKI fleet and Meteor beyond visual range missiles will be limited to a small fleet of 36 Dassault Rafale fighter fleet which has been ordered by India but that is about to change and Russia might offer new tactical Air-to-air missile which it is currently testing around.
According to Russian Media ” Tass”, Russian Defense Ministry is completing the trials of long-range air-to-air K-77M guided missile that can hit high-speed air targets at a distance of over 200 km. K-77M which was exclusively developed by Russia for PAK-FA have not only been modified in the last few years but Russia has now developed two variants called K-77M and K-77ME which are both based on R-77.
Vympel NPO R-77 missile off late has been overshadowed by newer modern western origin weapons systems like Meteor and AIM-120D AMRAAM but both of this missiles can be adapted for other multirole fourth-generation aircraft like Su-30, Su-35, and prospective fifth-generation Su-57.
Russia is keen to offer K-77M and K-77ME to all its current clients who operate Su-30 variants and India is at the top of the list according to Russian media. K-77M is a derivative of the R-77 with a double-pulse engine, new seeker and traditional tailfins in place of the R-77’s “chip-slicer” lattice fins. K-77ME is an air-breathing ramjet version similar in concept to the Meteor and both the missile are intended to match the performance of the latest AIM-120 variants.
Russia and India are still working out a final configuration of the Super 30 upgrade and modernization plan for India’s entire fleet of the Sukhoi-30MKI fleet and plans to integrate them with European Meteor beyond visual range missiles might not materialize at all and India’s Own Next Generation Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) Program is still years away from entering even trials.