The Indian Air Force (IAF) is seeking to acquire an additional 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighter aircraft from Russia, according to Vladimir Drozhzhov, the deputy director of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC).
Briefing reporters in Moscow on 8 July, Drozhzhov said that the FSMTC is "processing" a request from New Delhi to procure 18 more of these fighters for the IAF in kit form for assembly in India.
The platforms will supplement the 13 squadrons totalling 272 Su-30MKIs that the IAF intends to operate by 2020-21, thus taking to 14 the number of squadrons with this fighter type.
Drozhzhov further stated that Russia has completed delivery of all components and sub-assemblies to India's state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to licence-build 222 Su-30MKIs agreed upon under various previous contracts from 2000 onwards.
Currently, the IAF operates about 250 Su-30MKIs, of which more than 200 have been licence-built.
Official sources told Jane's that along with the powerpack, missile systems, and other major components, Russia has also provided HAL with 5,803 types of titanium blocks and forgings as well as aluminium and steel plates to assemble the aircraft. It has also provided HAL with about 7,100 'standard components' that include nuts, bolts, and rivets.
That said, the indigenous content in the HAL-built Su-30MKIs is around 50%, according to HAL sources.
The IAF received its first 50 Su-30 fighters, which were later upgraded to MKI standard, in the late 1990s for USD1.5 billion. This was followed by a deal to licence-build 140 at HAL's plant in Nashik in western India. Thereafter, India signed two deals, one in 2007 and another in 2012, to build an additional 82 fighters under licence.
Meanwhile, Drozhzhov said that Moscow is also processing New Delhi's requests to acquire 20 additional upgraded MiG-29UPG fighters.
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