Tuesday, September 6, 2011

DTN News - INDIA DEFENSE NEWS: India’s SU-30 MKI To Be Upgraded To Super Sukhoi By Russia

Defense News: DTN News - INDIA DEFENSE NEWS: India’s SU-30 MKI To Be Upgraded To Super Sukhoi By Russia
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - September 6, 2011: Irkut Corporation's plans to upgrade the Indian Air Force's (IAF's) Su-30MKI fleet will provide the fighter with capabilities similar to that of fifth-generation combat aircraft, Russian industry officials have said.

Speaking at the Moscow Air Show on 19 August Alexei Fedorov, the head of Irkut, announced that in addition to upgraded cockpit avionics and enhancements to the aircraft's radar, the so-called 'Super Sukhoi' will also receive modifications aimed at improving stealth capabilities. While the exact nature of these stealth modifications remains unclear, reports suggest the work will specifically focus on reducing the aircraft's radar signature.

The enhancements to the aircraft's radar could include upgrading the existing NIIP N011M Bars radar with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) antenna, thereby offering a substantial improvement in performance.

"The upgrade will apply not only to the aircraft in service with the IAF, but also to those yet to be delivered to India and those being licence-manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL]," Fedorov said.

India signed an INR150 billion (USD3.33 billion) deal in June 2010 for an additional 42 Su-30MKI 'Flanker-H' fighters, of which HAL is building 140 under licence.

Fedorov said the 'Super Sukhoi' would be able to carry a heavier weapon load, including the Indo-Russian developed BrahMos cruise missile, but declined to provide technical details of the upgrade or its cost as negotiations are continuing.

Although the price of the Sukhoi upgrade project is still to be finalized, the cost is likely to be to the tune of $ 1 billion which will make the Su-30 MKI extremely advanced with its fifth generation fighter plane features. India will eventually have over 230 Sukhoi-30MKIs or 13 squadrons in its fleet and all of these will be upgraded to Super Sukhoi’s.

Meanwhile, there is a lot to be clarified what the "Super Sukhoi” aircraft will actually be worth in terms of fifth generation capability. It has been accepted that stealth is the standard for fifth generation aircraft as well as its ability to super cruise. In addition, a next generation BVR missile and AESA radar are also needed for a fighter to qualify as a fifth generation fighter. Experts question whether the Su-30 MKI can super cruise. Also, without heavy structural changes equivalent to an entire new design, it remains to be seen if the fighter can be converted into stealth and have reduced radar signature. It has been argued that engines alone are not the only factor for super cruise as there has to be structural changes to enable that. Fedorov confirmed that negotiations for the upgrade of the Su-30MKI, of which the IAF will eventually operate 272, are at an advanced stage.

Meanwhile, India and Russia are also working on two other crucial projects, namely the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project and the Multi Role Transport Aircraft (MTA) project. State-run HAL is participating in the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project which will make India the only country outside of the US and Russia to have a fifth generation fighter. HAL's participation in the FGFA project is going smoothly with a preliminary design contract signed between India and Russia for $ 295 million. The specific details of the Indian components that will go into the FGFA will be decided during the detailed design phase. HAL will be working with its Russian partner United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) in co-developing an export version of which the IAF will be the first customer.

As for the Multi Role Transport Aircraft (MTA) project, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) will soon set up a technical competence center to develop critical technologies for the Indo-Russian MTA project. As for HAL, it has set-up a new company, the Multi Role Transport Aircraft Limited (MTAL), as an Indo-Russian joint venture. The aircraft’s designing and the prototype will come from Russia while production will take place in India. MATL will be in charge of marketing the aircraft in the two countries as well as for export. The total project cost is estimated at $ 600 million shared between the two countries.
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*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News



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