SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG
India’s ambitious upgrade program for its fleet of Russian-origin Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets, known as the “Super-30” project, has seen significant progress. While Russia initially stayed out of the upgrade package, India’s determination to replace major systems and components with indigenous designs has not gone unnoticed. As the project moves forward, Russia is extending offers of advanced weaponry for the modernized Su-30MKIs.
The “Super-30” upgrade program aims to replace 51 major systems and components in the Sukhoi-30MKI with Indian-designed counterparts, effectively stripping most of the Russian systems from the aircraft. This initiative represents a crucial step toward reducing India’s dependence on foreign suppliers for its defence needs.
In response, Russia is making offers of its own to enhance the capabilities of the upgraded Su-30MKIs. One of the key offerings is the R-74M1 (or M1) air-to-air missile, known as the RS-AA-11B Archer. The R-74M1 features improved engagement and seeker-acquisition range, enhancing the aircraft’s air-to-air combat capabilities. Furthermore, Russia is keen on introducing the Kh-59MK2 air-launched sub-sonic cruise missile, which boasts an impressive range of approximately 280 kilometres.
The “Super-30” upgrade program isn’t solely about replacing Russian systems with indigenous ones; it also incorporates the integration of advanced Indian weapon systems. These include the Astra Mk2 and Mk3 air-to-air missiles and Western close-combat weapons systems like ASRAAM and Python-5.
An essential aspect of the upgrade program is the replacement of the Main Fire Control Radar and Mission Computer. With these new components in place, India’s reliance on Russia for the integration of Indian and Western weapons will be significantly reduced. This is a strategic move that aligns with India’s vision for self-reliance and independence in defence technology.
Additionally, the introduction of an indigenous Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for the upgraded Su-30MKIs is a significant milestone. This AESA radar, under development, will be entirely indigenous, and most Western weapons suppliers will likely have no issues with its integration into the aircraft.
As the “Super-30” upgrade program continues to progress, India is striving to strike a balance between indigenous and Russian weaponry. While reducing dependence on Russian components is a central objective, the inclusion of advanced Russian weapons offers opportunities for bolstering the aircraft’s capabilities. This initiative underscores India’s commitment to enhancing its defence capabilities and strengthening its position as a self-reliant and technologically advanced defence force on the global stage.
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