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The Indian Air Force (IAF) is embarking on a significant modernization journey with its Super Sukhoi program. This initiative aims to upgrade 84 Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft, providing them with cutting-edge capabilities and enhancing their performance. While the program includes some components from Russia, the majority of upgrades are being developed indigenously, reinforcing India’s commitment to self-reliance in defence technology.

Under the Super Sukhoi program, these formidable aircraft will receive 51 major upgrades, transforming them into even more potent assets for the IAF. 

The upgrades encompass a wide range of systems, including:

  1. Fly-By-Wire Control: One of the central components of this upgrade is a digital fly-by-wire control system developed by Avionika Moscow Research and Production Complex in Russia. This system will enhance the aircraft’s manoeuvrability and precision.
  2. Avionics: The program includes advanced avionics, such as Full Touch-Based Large Screen Multi-Function Displays, Uttam Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Fire Control Radar, Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system, Electronic Warfare (EW) systems, an upgraded Mission Computer, and improved weapons systems.
  3. Engine Enhancement: While the AL-31F engine will remain the same, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) will collaborate to extend its service life and enhance its performance. This ensures that the engines continue to deliver optimal power and efficiency.

The Super Sukhoi program will be executed in two phases. In the initial phase, 84 Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft will undergo these extensive upgrades. This phase aims to integrate the new systems, allowing these aircraft to serve as advanced multi-role combat platforms. The first two Super Sukhoi-configured prototypes will serve as flying testbeds to validate the upgraded systems and their compatibility with the airframe.

The Super Sukhoi program is a significant leap in India’s pursuit of advanced air power. These upgraded aircraft will be equipped to meet the challenges of modern aerial warfare and will remain relevant till at least 2050. The program underscores India’s determination to enhance its defence capabilities through indigenous research, development, and manufacturing.

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