October 12, 2009 3:13:01 am
IN A move that will add even more teeth to its most modern fighter,the Indian Air Force is set to upgrade its fleet of Su-30MKI aircraft in a major modernisation effort that would give it a more powerful radar,newer avionics and better weapons,besides extending service life.
While the fighters are the newest in IAFs inventorythey were bought in 1996an upgrade to extend their capabilities will be discussed during Defence Minister A K Antonys visit to Moscow next week for the ninth meeting of the India-Russia Inter Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation.
The Russian side has offered an upgrade of the aircraft with incorporation of the latest technologies during the major overhaul and this will come up for discussion, Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.
The IAF is keen to get a more powerful radar for its fighters that will give it an increased detection range as well as the ability to fire longer range weapons. The IAF eventually wants the Su-30MKIs to have an Active Electonically Scanned Array radar,that is also one of the main requirements of the on going fighter trials to purchase 126 fighters.
The IAF is looking for an upgraded avionics package as well as extending the life span of the airframe and engines. Another component of the upgrade will be the installation of the Brahmos cruise missile on the Su-30MKI for land and naval attack missions.
The IAF is also keen on incorporating certain technologies being developed for the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft programme onto the Su-30MKI. The FGFA program will be discussed and India will impress on the need to keep with the deadline of inducting the next generation aircraft by 2017.
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