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In a surprising turn of events, Russia’s prominent arms export company, Rosoboronexport, has acknowledged its limitations in delivering military equipment to overseas clients. The primary reason for this setback is Russia’s urgent need to focus on its campaign in Ukraine, where it has encountered repeated challenges. This revelation, made through an official press release on October 19, has raised eyebrows in the global arms trade arena.

One of the key repercussions of this shift in priorities is seen in the context of India’s Su-30MKI fighter jet upgrade program. Rosoboronexport, which initially proposed an all-Russian hardware configuration for the “Super 30” upgrade, has had to yield to India’s HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) proposed “Super 30” upgrade configuration. This new configuration will involve the replacement of major components and equipment on India’s fleet of 272 Su-30MKI jets with Indian-made counterparts.

HAL’s ambitious plan includes changing 51 major components in the Su-30MKI aircraft, significantly altering their existing configuration. The Russian role in this project will be limited to supplying upgraded Fly-By-Wire (FBW) systems for the aircraft. The FBW system is a critical component that has been associated with a few accidents in the past, and Russia’s involvement is crucial for ensuring its stability.

Russia had previously expressed concerns about providing Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) support for such extensive modifications to the aircraft, particularly if the OEM was not actively involved in the process. However, in recent months, Russia’s stance on this matter has softened, allowing the HAL-led initiative to progress.

Furthermore, HAL and the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) are also considering further changes to the AL-31F engines of the Su-30MKI as a separate program. This endeavour aims to enhance the overhaul life of engine components, a move that had faced opposition from Russia in Past. where Russia had offered India the option of equipping the Su-30MKI with the more powerful and improved AL-41 engine used on the Su-35.

As India strives to enhance its indigenous capabilities, the Su-30MKI upgrade serves as a significant milestone in this journey, with Russia navigating its own set of challenges amidst ongoing military operations.

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