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The Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) are collaborating to finalize the configuration of the new GaN-Based AESA Radar that will be developed under Project Virupaksha for the upgraded Su-30MKI fighter jets under the Project “Super 30” Program.

DRDO and HAL conducted initial feasibility studies on the development of an upgraded Uttam AESA Radar for the Su-30MKI fighter jets. These studies resulted in the conceptualization of two or three configurations for the radar, and the Indian Air Force (IAF) has approved one of these configurations for further development.

The final configuration of the radar will determine the number of Transmit/Receive (T/R) modules required. This will lead to the development of a new Uttam variant specifically designed for the Su-30MKI fighter jets. The Su-30MKI’s large nose cone can accommodate a significant number of T/R modules, potentially ranging from 1400 to 2100. If the IAF opts for a higher number of T/R modules, this radar could become one of the largest AESA radars in existence.

Once the final configuration is confirmed, a private firm that already produces Uttam AESA Radar for the Tejas Mk1A program will be engaged to develop 2-4 units of the new radar. These units will undergo initial testing on two Su-30MKI Flying Testbeds before full-scale production commences post-2025.

The development of the new GaN-Based AESA Radar for the Su-30MKI fighter jets is a significant step towards enhancing the capabilities of the IAF’s fleet of Su-30MKI aircraft. The radar will provide the Su-30MKI with enhanced detection range, tracking accuracy, and electronic warfare capabilities, making it a more formidable force in the air.

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