20 December 2011

42 More Sukhois Making their Way into India

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Moscow led to an agreement between two countries for fighter jets. Russia has agreed to provide India with additional 42 Sukhoi frontline fighters. As the new agreement comes into light, Russia will now provide a total of 272 frontline Su-30 MKI fighters to India in various stages of manufacture.

42 More Sukhois Making their Way into India
In the presence of Mr. Singh and President Dmitry Medvedev; Defence Secretary, Shashi Kant Sharma and Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Director MA Dmitriev signed the upgraded agreement.

The age of the concerned fighters is increasing but the quality of the fighters is depleting. The Pune Sukhoi crash incident was the third most recent crash involving Sukhoi. Defect in fly-by-wire system and defected control switches in the cockpit were the reasons for the first crash. The ingestion of foreign object in the engine resulted into some technical problem which resulted in the second crash.

The year has already seen 8 crashes till now and half of the accidents involve Mig-21s. The frequent crashes in the recent past are highlighting the safety issues. The crashes have resulted in criticizing and losing trust in IAF and many questions are being raised on the safety issues. The crash of Mig-21, the oldest fighter in the fleet has put IAF to come to grips with the problems. In order to take measures in regard to the recent mishaps, Defence Ministry will soon set up a committee under Additional Seceretary-level officer. As quoted by The Telegraph, Defence Minister, Antony, "The inexperience of pilots is not one of the major reasons for aircraft accidents in the IAF. Nevertheless, steps have been taken by the government to train pilots to prevent accidents due to human error."

42 More Sukhois Making their Way into India
With the recent Pune mishap, a lot of technical questions have been raised in foundation with the entire 120 plane pending investigations. The crashes have resulted in the death of 13 pilots and the country has also lost around 30 fighters and helicopters.

Hal has signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) and a general contract for manufacturing 140 Su-30 MKI aircraft in 2000. Additional 40 aircrafts were added by 2007 protocol. Previous to signing of IGA, 50 Su-30 aircrafts were purchased in phases and deliveries were in progress in the late 90s.

A new cockpit, advanced radar and some assured secret features to avoid radar detection are what to be expected in the latest version. The improved Sukhoi-30 will carry heavier weapons load in addition with the airborne version of the Brahmos cruise missile.

The improved Sukhois are expected to be first delivered in 2014 and 2018 will receive the last.