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In a significant boost to India’s self-reliance in the defence sector, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari has announced that the upcoming upgrade of Sukhoi-30MKI fighters will transform them into truly Indian aircraft. This ambitious project, undertaken by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), will witness the replacement of nearly all major components and systems in the first tranche of 84 aircraft, leading to an incredible 78% indigenization.

The Sukhoi-30MKI, a potent fighter jet originally developed in Russia, has served as the backbone of the Indian Air Force (IAF) for decades. However, the upcoming upgrade program marks a pivotal shift in this partnership. Replacing crucial components like the AESA Fire Control Radar, avionics, and other systems with indigenously developed Indian technology will significantly reduce dependence on Russia and propel India toward self-sufficiency in advanced aerospace systems.

HAL, known for its expertise in aircraft construction and upgrades, has been entrusted with the colossal task of spearheading this transformation. The Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) granted to HAL empowers them to implement extensive modifications beyond the initial 51 components mentioned by CAS Chaudhari. This flexible approach allows for incorporating additional indigenous advancements as they become available, constantly pushing the boundaries of Indian-made technology.

Key Upgrades:

The upgrade program will focus on several key areas, including:

  • AESA Radar: Replacing the existing Russian radar with an indigenously developed Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar will significantly improve the aircraft’s detection and tracking capabilities, providing a crucial edge in modern aerial warfare.
  • Avionics: Upgrading the avionics suite with advanced Indian systems will enhance the aircraft’s overall performance, including navigation, communication, and weapon delivery.
  • Electronic Warfare Suite: Integrating an advanced Electronic Warfare suite will bolster the aircraft’s survivability by enabling it to jam enemy radars and counter electronic attacks.
  • Weapons Systems: The upgrade program may also involve integrating new Indian weapons systems onto the aircraft, further enhancing its offensive capabilities.

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