The Indian defense contractor Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has voiced its interest to produce more Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets. The HAL manufactured Sukhoi makes up the backbone of India’s Air Force. Its fleet would grow to 312, if the company’s proposal
to produce 40 more planes is accepted by the Ministry of Defense. India originally received standard Su-30MKs, while its government and industry worked with the Russians to develop the more advanced Su-30MKI
, complete with innovations like thrust-vectoring engines and canard fore planes. The Su-30MKI ended up using electronic systems from a variety of countries: a Russian NIIP N-011 radar and long-range IRST sensor, French navigation and heads-up display systems from Thales, Israeli electronic warfare systems and LITENING advanced targeting pods, and Indian computers and ancillary avionics systems. HAL is currently producing the Su-30 at a cost of $62.6 million per unit, making it significantly cheaper than the competing Rafale
that costs close to $165 million.
India’s Su-30MKI fighter-bombers are the pride of its fleet. Below them, India’s local Tejas LCA lightweight fighter program aims to fill its low-end fighter needs, and the $10+ billion M-MRCA competition is negotiating to buy France’s Rafale as an intermediate tier.
India isn’t neglecting its high end SU-30s, though. Initial Su-30MK and MKI aircraft have all been upgraded to the full Su-30MKI Phase 3 standard, and the upgraded “Super 30” standard aims to keep Sukhoi’s planes on top. Meanwhile, production continues, and India is becoming a regional resource for Su-27/30 Flanker family support.