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India’s massive fleet of Su-30MKI fighter jets, the mainstay of the Indian Air Force (IAF), is undergoing a significant upgrade program. This collaborative effort between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the IAF, and private companies aims to enhance the capabilities of these powerful war machines.

One of the key challenges addressed in the upgrade is the Su-30MKI’s radar signature. Despite its strengths, the aircraft’s large size (around 30 tons) translates to a high Radar Cross-Section (RCS), making it detectable by long-range radars. This can limit its effectiveness in contested airspace, where stealth plays a crucial role.

To address this issue, India’s Defence Laboratory, Jodhpur, has developed a promising solution: Polyurethane-based Radar Absorbing Paint (RAM). This innovative paint utilizes magnetic functional fillers within a polyurethane resin system, offering several advantages:

  • Exceptional Durability: The resin system boasts excellent weathering resistance, ensuring the paint’s effectiveness in extreme temperatures, both high and low.
  • Targeted Absorption: The magnetic fillers are specifically sized and shaped to achieve optimal radar wave absorption.
  • Broad Application: The developed paint is suitable for application on both airborne platforms like the Su-30MKI and land-based strategic targets.

While the RAM paint won’t transform the Su-30MKI into a completely stealthy aircraft, it will significantly reduce its radar signature. This translates to a smaller detection range, making it more challenging for enemy radars to pick up the upgraded fighter jets.

The application of RAM paint on the Su-30MKI, particularly on high-RCS areas like air intakes and frontal sections, will enhance its survivability in modern warfare scenarios. This upgrade, along with other improvements being implemented in the Super-30 program, will ensure that the IAF’s fighter fleet remains a potent force for years to come.

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