To Belarus, With Love: India to Sell 18 Used SU-30Ks for $300M
As part of a USD $4.9 billion deal, Russia and India signed a contract in November 1996 for the delivery of 50 big Su-30 multi-purpose twin-seat fighters, the newest member of Sukhoi’s SU-27 Flanker family. The first 18 aircraft had the same capabilities as the Su-30K air superiority variant, but follow-up aircraft offered the multi-role SU-30MKI configuration upgraded with thrust vectoring AL-31FP engines, improved avionics and canards. India received 18 of the early SU-30K standard, and they have been featured at COPE India 2004 and COPE India 2005 exercises with the USA. India has also received 32 of the later-model SU-30MKI aircraft from Irkut and has 140 more on order, to be produced under license by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) with some assistance from Sukhoi kits.
As HAL production of the SU-30MKI begins, India is now selling off its 18 SU-30K fighters to Belarus for a reported $300 million. At under $17 million per plane, that figure represents a significant bargain to Belarus, which currently operates 23 related SU-27P aircraft and will upgrade the new planes to an SU-30KN standard. India, meanwhile, earns money it can put to other uses, and avoids the need to add an SU-30K upgrade program to its existing full pattern. India Defence has further details.