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Figaro

Junior Member
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More MKI purchases
India to buy 33 Russian fighter aircraft for $2.43 billion
ASHOK SHARMA
July 2, 2020, 9:15 AM CDT

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s defense ministry on Thursday approved the purchase of 21 Russian MiG-29 and 12 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft costing $2.43 billion to augment its air force as the country faces security challenges on its borders with China and Pakistan.
The planes will supplement 59 MiG-29’s and 272 Sukhoi aircraft currently in service.

The defense ministry also said it has approved local development of missile systems for all three branches of the military, and ammunition and upgraded infantry combat vehicles for the army.

India is awaiting the arrival of the first batch of 36 Rafale fighter jets ordered as part of a $8.78 billion deal signed with France in 2016 in “ready to fly” condition, meaning they will be made in France. India is expecting four to six Rafale aircraft to arrive in India at the end of this month.

India has become the world’s biggest arms importer as it modernizes its military. Major arms manufacturers are wooing the country as it replaces obsolete Soviet-era weapons.

Rahul Bedi, a defense analyst, said the acquisition of the Russian aircraft will boost the air force's depleted fighter squadron numbers, which have dropped from an approved total of 42 to 28. One squadron comprises 18 aircraft.

He said the 21 MiG-29s will be second-hand planes that will be updated in Russia, while the 12 Su-30MKIs will be built under licence by India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

Tensions with China over disputed territory led to hand-to-hand combat between soldiers on June 15 that left 20 Indians dead. Indian officials say the standoff began in early May when large contingents of Chinese soldiers entered deep inside Indian-controlled territory at three places in Ladakh.

Indian and Chinese military officials and diplomats have held several rounds of talks aimed at reaching a solution.

India’s ties with hostile neighbor Pakistan hit a low after India changed the status of the portion of disputed Kashmir it controls in August last year. India and Pakistan have fought two wars over control of the Himalayan region since Britain gave them independence from colonial rule in 1947.

India has been fighting an insurgency in Kashmir since 1989. It accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Islamabad denies.
 

siegecrossbow

Brigadier
Staff member
Super Moderator
Will the Su-30 be made in Russia or India?
I heard the Indian production line was about to close.
That being said, how much of the plane is actually made in India?
This has never been clear to me, other than "a lot less than the J-11".
That's what I'm confused about as well. HAL already has assembly lines for the Su-30 so I don't get why they are buying whole planes from Russia.
 

plawolf

Brigadier
That's what I'm confused about as well. HAL already has assembly lines for the Su-30 so I don't get why they are buying whole planes from Russia.
Looks like either a panicked buy to boost inventory numbers quickly, or maybe they are buying Su35s? Although Su35s are single seaters, whereas the IAF seems to prefer two pilots in their flankers.
 

Figaro

Junior Member
Registered Member
Looks like either a panicked buy to boost inventory numbers quickly, or maybe they are buying Su35s? Although Su35s are single seaters, whereas the IAF seems to prefer two pilots in their flankers.
It looks like the Indians are purchasing 21 Mig-29s and 12 Su-30MKIs for 2.4B. I'm surprised why they haven't gone with the Su-35. Maybe Russia won't let them produce it locally like the Su-30s?
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ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
Because the quality of their assembly is terrible. Everything HAL touched basically becomes duds.
Is HAL building Indian licensed Rafales? Or is Modi's friend's company doing that?

The Rafale F3 is going to be a capable fighter. It's France's absolute best and India will be getting the Meteor. If the French have agreed with licensed Indian production, I doubt India will stick with 36 fighters. They'll end up buying much, much more. But it's also a good thing India is spending itself broke and moving further away from Russia. They really don't realise how much of a good and useful thing being on good terms with Russia is for India. Trading Russia for the US or France when it comes to military equipment and politics is the end of India. But everyone could have seen the trend when they started getting in bed with Israel, the shift towards US would have been inevitable.

Pakistan really needs to move on the AZM if they're going to balance the Rafales, even if HAL or another Indian organisation is building them. They work often enough to count for something unless it's like their Dhruv - 4 out of 7 failure.
 

supersnoop

Junior Member
Registered Member
From what I have recently read, basically most of the airframe is still sourced from Russia. Articles put the estimate of Indian manufactured components at “50%” (whatever that means).

As is typically the case, titanium parts present the greatest challenge. Russia is the expert in the field. For J-11 many of these parts were replaced with composites and aluminum. I imagine this is not within India’s industrial capability.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
From what I have recently read, basically most of the airframe is still sourced from Russia. Articles put the estimate of Indian manufactured components at “50%” (whatever that means).

As is typically the case, titanium parts present the greatest challenge. Russia is the expert in the field. For J-11 many of these parts were replaced with composites and aluminum. I imagine this is not within India’s industrial capability.
The Russians build most of the frame and ship them to India for assembly where the Indians need to install a host of French and Israeli components. The 50% claim is some random bogus arbitrary definition where the claimant is playing with semantics. Is it by volume? by mass? by value? by time spent? they don't specify any of it except by providing some loosely labeled diagram showing the origin of certain subsystems. Some of which are Indian but like a small fraction. Its final assembly is in India.

Indians have ordered more Su-30MKI and Mig-29 possibly as a gesture to warm up the relation with Russia especially in light of India China conflict and their assumption that the Russians will mediate for them and stand slightly in their favour if they make some big dollar purchases. Russia gave them the finger essentially by hinting they will and then rejecting them last second. Maybe it was just India fake news brigade propping up the whole "don't worry Russia will mediate for us" temporary soother. More Sukhoi and Mig orders mean fewer Rafales. This is good news for Pakistan. China doesn't truly care either way because India ain't getting air superiority from China even with 100 Rafales and 400 Meteors in its arsenal. CCP may make a fuss and kick up a stink about it if they do but silently glad India is buying something it cannot afford. Well maybe they will in their media reports and illusory stories of heroic victories.
 

Brumby

Major
Have there been any concerns around logistic risks with fielding such a diversified set of fighters imported from different nations?
Having a diversified fleet and in small numbers will inevitably result in a more complex logistics tail and that comes with higher maintenance cost. Any future acquisition outside of the present fleet will invite greater scrutiny to justify it. This is one of the issue that the IAF will have to deal with in addressing their fighter capacity gap especially when considering F-21 or F-18. In an ideal world, the IAF should buy more Rafales beyond the present number of 36 as it has already invested in the necessary infrastructure. The problem is IMO the IAF cannot afford to buy more.

That's what I'm confused about as well. HAL already has assembly lines for the Su-30 so I don't get why they are buying whole planes from Russia.
I have not seen a single news source reporting that the 12 planned SU-30MKI will be imported from Russia. The news source that I have seen confirms that it will be locally assembled by HAL - which had been the case for all of India's SU-30MKI except for the first batch of 50.
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.

The piece of news that seems inexplicable is that each of the SU-30MKI will cost close to US$120 million. The most recent contract cost with HAL is $70.3 million each and this latest buy is far more than most recent contract. This is notwithstanding that it only cost $42.15 million each if they were fully assembled in Russia. This is the premium penalty for India's indigenous effort.
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It looks like the Indians are purchasing 21 Mig-29s and 12 Su-30MKIs for 2.4B. I'm surprised why they haven't gone with the Su-35. Maybe Russia won't let them produce it locally like the Su-30s?
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SU-35 has only very limited tactical upside for the IAF and plenty of strategic downside as a considered buy. India has over the years invested a lot into its SU-30MKI and the present Mk 3 is a combination of Russian, Israel, French and Indian effort. The SU-35 as the Chinese have found out is impossible to integrate with indigenous systems. The IAF is presently migrating out of their obsolete stock of Russian R-77 and R-27s AAM and replacing them with I-Derby and MICA. SU-35 does not fit into their upgrade path.

Longer term, the plan for the Super Sukhoi upgrade is to take on board the developments coming off from the SU-57 thus bypassing the SU-35 systems.

Is HAL building Indian licensed Rafales? Or is Modi's friend's company doing that?

The Rafale F3 is going to be a capable fighter. It's France's absolute best and India will be getting the Meteor. If the French have agreed with licensed Indian production, I doubt India will stick with 36 fighters.
I agree that the IAF should buy more Rafale beyond the 36 but there are no stated plans because one, I don't think it can financially afford it and two, the IAF intends to pursue what is described as the Strategic Partner procurement initiative. In my view that translates to another round of convoluted never ending acquisition process that is best described as "objectively dysfunctional".
 

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