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The Indian Air Force (IAF) is embarking on a transformative journey to enhance the capabilities of its formidable Su-30MKI fighter jets. The “Super Sukhoi” upgrade program, valued at over $7 billion, aims to equip these aircraft with cutting-edge avionics, radars, and electronic warfare suites.

India’s fleet of Su-30MKI fighter jets, ordered from Russia, constitutes a vital component of the IAF’s combat fleet, totaling 272 aircraft. These multi-role fighters have demonstrated their prowess in various missions and are known for their versatility and adaptability. However, to ensure their relevance in modern warfare scenarios, comprehensive upgrades are essential.

The “Super Sukhoi” upgrade program involves revamping the Su-30MKI aircraft with state-of-the-art technologies. One of the key features of this overhaul is the incorporation of all-Indian components and systems, highlighting India’s push for self-reliance in defence production. While most of the aircraft’s components will undergo significant changes, the AL-31F engines that power the Su-30MKI fighters will remain unchanged.

The upgrade will introduce advanced avionics systems that provide enhanced situational awareness, communication, and data-sharing capabilities. These innovations will empower the IAF pilots with real-time information critical for decision-making during missions.

New Uttam Aesa radar systems will be integrated into the aircraft, enabling improved detection and tracking of both air and ground targets. These radar enhancements will contribute to heightened combat effectiveness.

The “Super Sukhoi” will boast advanced electronic warfare suites designed to counter emerging threats effectively. These systems will enhance the aircraft’s survivability in hostile environments.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will play a pivotal role in executing the upgrade program. Collaborating closely with the Indian Air Force and other partners, HAL will oversee the implementation of these technological advancements.

The initial phase of the “Super Sukhoi” program will encompass the first lot of 84 Su-30MKI fighter jets. Subsequently, the IAF plans to extend the upgrades to nearly 150 Su-30MKI aircraft in later stages, ensuring that a significant portion of its fleet benefits from these enhancements.

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