SOURCE: Satyajeet Kumar/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Sukhoi Su-30MKI is considered among Top 4.5 generation fighter aircraft in the world today and no doubt it can also give good fight to any 5th Generation fighter too in closely contested Dogfight, what makes Sukhoi Su-30MKI so advance is also because it is the first aircraft of Russian origin which is equipped with avionics, tweaked FCR and targeting pods developed by India, Israel and France .
Under Super-30 upgrade program, India plans to further enhance its Sukhoi Su-30MKI fleet to bring it as much as closer to 5th generation fighter jet in terms of technology and also to keep them modern and relevant in changing aerial threat environment all around.
No doubt Under Super-30 upgrade program, Sukhoi Su-30MKI fleet will be at par with most of 4.5++ generation fighter jets and India can also brag that it operates one of the most advanced Sukhoi Su-30 in the world but flaws regarding usage of Russian technology will continue to haunt India and even after upgrades there is no evidence to suggest that operational availability of Sukhoi Su-30MKI fleet in Indian Air Force will actually improve over 75% as desired by India.
Super-30 Upgrade should never had to be the usage of more Russian technology but rather it could have been rather using more western technology to get desired results from the jet in terms of operational availability. One of the major flaws in the Sukhoi Su-30MKI seems to AL-31F engines which combined with poor spares makes IAF’s desired operational availability over 75% quite difficult. Russians sensing Indian frustration have offered new upgraded engines but there is not guarantee that new engines will have better serviceability and will come with better service intervals.
India by deciding to stick with the usage of Russian technology for Super-30 Upgrade has missed a golden opportunity in correcting flaws in Sukhoi Su-30MKI fleet by replacing many Russian components with western or indigenous ones.