Su-30MKI aircraft comprise the mainstay of IAF's fighter fleet for "air dominance."
In 1996, India ordered 40 Su-30MK/MKI from Sukhoi in Russia along with an in principle agreement for future license production of the aircraft in India.
In 1998, India ordered an additional 10 Su-30Ks bringing the total order to 50.
On October 4, 2000, India and Russia signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for transfer of License and Technical Documentation to India, for production of 140 SU-30 MKI Aircraft, its Engines and Aggregates at HAL.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) accorded its approval for the Project on December 18, 2000.
The Government sanctioned the license manufacture project in January 2001.
As per govt. sanction, HAL was to produce 12 aircraft per Year, with production starting in 2004-05 and wrapping by 2017-18.
In June 2005, Air Headquarters requested HAL, to explore the feasibility of compressing the delivery program by three years. Accordingly, HAL submitted a Proposal which envisaged compressed delivery of 140 aircraft by 2014-15 at the rate of 16 ac / yr. CCS accorded its approval for the compressed delivery program on March 31, 2006 and a fresh contract was signed between HAL and the IAF.
Subsequently, the government sanction was increased to 180 aircraft and the IAF concluded a follow-up contract with HAL for the supply of an additional 40 Su-30MKIs. HAL agreed to deliver the additional aircraft also by 2014-15.
On December 16, 2011, during the annual summit between the Indian PM and Russian President, India and Russia signed a Rs 20,000 crore agreement for license production of an additional 42 Su-30MKI Super 30 variants. [via PIB]
On December 24, 2012, during the annual summit between the Indian PM and Russian President in New Delhi, the two countries inked a deal worth around $2.2 billion for licence production of 42 Su-30MKIs at HAL in Bengaluru using technical kits supplied by Sukhoi.
With this contract, the number of Su-30MKIs in the IAF would go up to 272 in next four to five years. (As on December 24, 2012, the IAF Sukhoi comprised 167 aircraft. (50 supplied by Russia, 119 by HAL, with 2 lost in accidents.)
The first Super 30 variant is to be delivered in 2014 and the last by 2018.
Total Order: 272
Initial Purchase (1996 and 1998) from Russia: 50
Initial order on HAL: 140
Follow-up order on HAL in 2007: 40
Additional order for Super 30 variant on Russia: 42
The 'Super' variant of the Su-30MKI will feature an AESA, be capable of carrying the Brahmos missile and feature a radar, onboard computer and EWS to launch the airborne version of the Brahmos, and later the strategic subsonic Nirbhay cruise missile with a range of 1,000 km.
Other upgrades include a head-up display, a Sigma-95 integrated GPS and ring laser gyroscope inertial navigation system, radars, LITENING targeting pods and electronic counter-measure systems. [via Space Daily]
An enlarged version of the Phazotron Zhuk-AE radar fitted on the MiG-35D prototype fielded for the MMRCA competition is likely to be fitted to the Super 30, but Irkut could also go for Tikhomirov’s NIIP AESA shown at MAKS-2011.
During MMRCA trials the Zhuk-MA AESA radar demonstrated significant capabilities, including ground-mapping modes and the ability to detect, track and shoot at aerial targets. During demonstration flights, a MiG-35D destroyed an aerial drone with an air-to-air missile launched by an Indian pilot.[via ainonline.com]
Of the initial 50 aircraft procured, 8 were basic Su-30MKs, 10 Su-30Ks, 10 Su-30MKIs with canards, and the remaining 22 Su-30MKIs with canards and AL-31FP engines, the thrust vectoring version of AL-31 engines fitted on the earlier aircraft.
The first batch of Su-30MKIs were delivered to the IAF in the beginning of 2002.
The AL-31FP engine is 110 kg heavier and 0.4m longer than the AL-31F but retains the same thrust.
All the 50 aircraft acquired have since been upgraded to Su-30MKI standard.
HAL had assembled 42 MKIs from the total order of 140 to be assembled by the end of 2012.
As of December 2009, the IAF was operating five Su-30MKI squadrons, with two squadrons flying HAL assembled aircraft.
HAL had delivered 74 of of the 140 aircraft on order. It delivered 23 Su-30MKI in 2009 and is expected to deliver 28 in 2010.
Three aircraft from the follow-up order for 40 placed on Russia had been delivered by December 7, 2009. Delivery of the remaining is expected to be completed by 2011-12.
A total of two aircraft were lost in crashes on 30 April 2009 and 30 November 2009.
In a press release on December 24, 2012, HAL stated that it had delivered 119 aircraft to the IAF till date.
The IAF will eventually be equipped with 14 Su-30MKI squadrons.
As in May 2013, 8 Su-30MKI squadrons have been raised - two each in Lohegaon in Pune (20, 30) and Bareilly (8, 24), and one each in Tezpur (2), Jodhpur (31), Halwara (220) and Chabua (102).
One squadron would be based in Sirsa, with Tezpur, Chabua, Jodhpur and Halwara getting an additional squadron each.
A final Su-30MKI would be based in the newly activated IAF base at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, to be inaugurated by Defense Minister AK Antony on May 27, 2013.
India and Russia signed the initial contract for the license production of Su-30MKI aircraft at HAL, and supply of associated AL-31FP kits, in 2000. The contract gave India an option to procure additional AL-31FP kits which India exercised in October 2012.
According to current plans, the IAF plans to acquire a total of 272 Su-30MKI aircraft, including 42 Super 30 variants.
The specs for the AL-31FP engine is as follows
Engine length - 4945mm
Variable nozzle length - 1603mm
Intel diameter - 905mm
Dry weight - 1488 kg
Full augmented thrust, kgf - 12500;
Minimum specific fuel consumption, kg/kgf.h - 0,67;
Air consumption, kg/s - 112.
Russia's UMPO has started delivery of 920 AL-31FP engine kits via Rosoboronexport to India for assembly at HAL and fitment on HAL assembled Su-30MKI aircraft in March 2013. [via Russian Aviation]
Delivery of the kits will span 10 years.
The Bars radar fitted on the Su-30MKI is a hybrid radar that fits between a PESA and contemporary AESA radar. It features a detection range of 76 nm (50 nm form the rear hemisphere). It has 0.9m diameter antenna The phased array can electronically steer the mainlobe through +/-70 degrees in azimuth and +/-40 degrees in elevation. The whole array can be further steered mechanically. Polarisation can be switched by 90 degrees for surface search modes.
The radar can simultaneously track both air and ground targets and engage 4 to 8 targets.
The radar can transmit targeting information to 4 other aircraft operating their radars in the passive mode.
BARS N011M Capabilities displayed at HAL pavilion at Aero India 2011. Photo Copyright © Vijainder K Thakur
The Su-30MKI is being manufactured from raw materials in India and its engine is being locally produced.
A Su-30MKI aircraft crashed on April 30, 2009 near IAF's Pokhran range in Rajasthan, at Rajmathai village, around 170 km from Jaisalmer.
The aircraft had taken off from Pune. The pilots - Wing Commander PS Nara and Wing Commander SV Munje - lost control of the aircraft after inadvertently tripping its FBW system.
Both the pilots ejected but Wing Commander Nara was fatally injured during the ejection sequence. Munke sustained injuries.
A Su-30MKI crashed on November 30, 2009 in Jathegaon, about 40 km from Jaisalmer after a fire warning prompted both aircrew to eject. The pilots were not injured. The fire warning was attributed to FOD from an engine airtake ingestion.
A Su-30MKI crashed around 1:30 pm on December 13, 2011 shortly after taking off from Lohegaon airbase in Pune. Both the pilots ejected safely. The crash was initially attributed to a failure of the aircraft's FBW system.
On August 4, 2012, CAS NAK Browne Said the IAF had identified a "design flaw" in the Su-30MKI FBW system, but the problem doesn't compromise the aricraft's "airworthiness".
"We have identified a Fly-By-Wire problem with the aircraft. It is a design issue and we have taken it up with the designing agency," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function held to mark Golden Jubilee celebrations of Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) in Pune. [via TOI]
A court of inquiry later established human failure (technical) as the cause of failure.
During his inaugural press conference on October 5, 2012, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne said that modernization of the Su-30MKI fleet will start after all the aircraft on order have been delivered.
India Today reported in its June, 2010 issue that the project to modernize the initial batch of Su-30s delivered to India by Russia has been finalized.
The aircraft are due for major overhaul and Russia has proposed incorporation of the latest technologies during the major overhaul.
Defence Ministry sources told Economic Times on July 4, 2010:
"As part of IAF's modernisation program, we are going to upgrade 50 Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft with help of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from Russia.
"Su-30 MKIs have been inducted into the IAF in four phases. The ones to be upgraded are from the first phase and the project is likely to be completed in the next three to four years," they added.
Of the 50 aircraft, around five would be sent to the Russian facilities while the remaining would undergo upgrading within India, they said.
"The airframe of these aircraft would also be strengthened to equip them with air-launched version of the 290 km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile," the sources said.
The Bars phased-array radar of the aircraft will be upgraded in two phases. In the first phase, advanced operating modes will be introduced based on computer and other hardware upgrades.
In the second phase, the passive array will be replaced with a AESA.
The upgrades are to be carried out jointly by Russia, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Defence Research and Development Organisation.
In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on August 18, 2010 Defence Minister Shri AK Antony said the current estimated cost for the upgrade is Rs. 10920 crores and the aircraft are likely to be upgraded in a phased manner from year 2012 onwards.
IAF is already upgrading its two main fighter aircraft fleet of 60 MiG-29s and is about to sign an around USD two billion deal with France to modernise its 50 Mirage aircraft. The Jaguar, MiG-27 and MiG-21 fleets have already been upgraded by the force.