SOURCE: SATYAJEET KUMAR/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Amid the Ukraine-Russia war, India has dropped plans to carry out upgrades to the Russian-supplied Su-30MKI jets. India had planned to carry out upgrades to 85 units that were inducted nearly 20 years ago and were due to mid-life upgrades and a major overhaul of the systems and engines. IAF will now seek help from the state-owned HAL to come up with a comprehensive upgrade plan with indigenous systems.
HAL had proposed to equip the upgraded Su-30MKI with a new cockpit layout with a new improved touch-based Voice-activated system and also upgrade its Digital Missile warning receiver and EW systems. HAL also had proposed it to be equipped with an upgrade Mission computer so that it can cater to the new modern AESA radar that it plans to integrate it with.
Some of the Line replacement units and other systems were to come from Russia along with some improvements to the avionics but since this won’t be happening, India will have to rely on the DRDO and HAL supplied components and equipment but it cant be called as a major upgrade since most the technology is still under testing and might be upgraded periodically over the years in small batches.
This is where western countries that are keen that India stops the purchase of Russian equipment and cut its ties need to come in and offer some of the systems in communication and navigation so that the Indian Air force is not stuck with obsolete equipment at hand.
While the West is trying to emulate what it has been doing in the Russia-Ukraine war, where it will step in if India and China will ever go to war with each other with supplies of western weapons and systems but this won’t be useful to India in mid of the war since it won’t have trained force that is familiar with this equipment due to which it become obligations of the western world that current Russian equipment remains active and advance even if had to be incorporated with some western systems that many may not like.
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