SOURCE: SRINIVAS GOWDA/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Since 2019, Nearly 400 component manufacturers have stopped manufacturing about 6,000 components that go into each Su-30MKI after the production line ended. HAL will get to procure and manufacture 12 more Su-30MKI multirole fighters but this might come in assembly kit form as direct supplies from Russia were preferred over local component manufacture as the price was steep in India.
HAL manufactured Su-30MKI fighter are not fully indigenized, only 51 percent is homemade, while the remaining 49 percent of supplies still come from Russia with the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, IAF stares at the possibility of having difficulties in procuring spares from Russia due to the arms embargo on Russian entities and companies that could ground large part of the fleet if supply chain doesn’t improve in next few months.
Su-30MKI fighter availability rate in IAF is around 65% and great efforts were made over a few years to achieve this figure even though the goal was to get it past 75% availability rate but that failed even after two-decade in service since the original contract required thousands of components to be procured from Russia only.
India might revive plans to procure some of the components that were allowed to be manufactured in India but it might need to go rogue and break away from the contract obligation and let Indian manufacturers start working on some of the Russian components that the contract forbade to be made locally.
People familiar with the issue, think that supply issues might descend upon IAF sooner than later but the issues are not due to engine spares as reported many times but due to many consumable components that need to be changed after meeting certain hours of flying to keep the aircraft safe. Interestingly IAF is not much worried about the 60 odd Mig-29 fleets that have a higher percentage of local consumable components even though it had several teething issues for nearly a decade after its induction that allowed it to look within to fix many of the supply issues.
I have been told that one of the reasons why Russian consumable components like raw materials including titanium blocks, forgings, aluminum, and steel plates, as well as low-tech items such as nuts, bolts, and screws were preferred over local manufacturers as it was cheaper to get them from Russian manufacturers due to mass production for domestic and export markets that kept the price on the lower side.
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