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In a significant development, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has given the green light to a long-pending demand for the acquisition of 12 additional Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft. These aircraft will be locally manufactured by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF), with kits to be supplied by Russia.

One of the key aspects of this procurement is that these new Sukhoi-30MKI units are expected to undergo structural hardening. This process is vital to enable these aircraft to operate the 2.5-ton BrahMos-A Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM), a capability exclusive to the modified Su-30MKI.

HAL officials working on the project have indicated that they will focus on incorporating the necessary structural changes in the newly built Sukhoi-30MKI units. This approach is seen as more practical and efficient than retrofitting older existing aircraft. The IAF has expressed the need for over 40 Sukhoi-30MKI units capable of deploying the BrahMos-A ALCM.

The Sukhoi-30MKI requires modifications to its centre fuselage and additional wing support to handle the weight and kinetic impact of the launch of BrahMos-A ALCM, which is capable of reaching speeds of Mach 3 and striking targets as far as 450 kilometres away with exceptional precision. This formidable cruise missile can be employed both on land and at sea, making it a versatile choice for various defence scenarios. Its high speed and ability to fly at low altitudes while evading radar detection contribute to its effectiveness in neutralizing heavily defended targets.

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