Top Brass of Indian Air Force (IAF) will be soon taking a final call on the proposal made by State-owned HAL in 2018 for the supply of 40 additional Sukhoi-Su-30MKI over orders of 272 units already placed with the HAL in previous contracts. Ministry of Defence (MOD) has asked IAF to seriously consider ordering additional Su-30s due to high-rate of retirement which has been planned from 2019 on wards for the Mig-21 and Mig-27 fleet which will leave an immediate void in the capabilities of the force.

Sources close to have informed that Top Brass of Indian Air Force (IAF) are not fully convinced that additional Sukhoi-Su-30MKI fighter jets will actually help gauge fall of the fighter fleet in the force and Senior officials are also worried that IAF is already Top-heavy and actually needs Light and Medium class aircrafts to strike right balance in the force .

Heavy-class fighter aircraft like Sukhoi-Su-30MKI have higher operating cost for each sortie, which makes them highly expensive to operate when compared to light or medium class fighter jets. Su-30MKI fleet also faces routine spares and maintenance issues which have improved over the years yet, has not reached desirable levels.

IAF has been pushing for follow on order for 36 Dassault Rafale fighter jet but due to Political war over previous 36 Dassault Rafale deal with France, it is unlikely MOD will give go head for the purchase of additional Rafale’s. IAF’s tender for Make in India fighter tender for 114 units of fighter jets will only move head after elections and might still require a few years more before final agreement and Transfer of Technology agreements are worked out.



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