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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

HAL, DRDO to begin Rs 60,000 crore Sukhoi fighter jet fleet upgrade

The Su-30MKI, constituting the backbone of the IAF's fighter fleet, with an initial order of 272 jets from Russia, has received a fresh impetus with an additional order for 12 jets cleared last year.

In a groundbreaking development, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is set to undertake a massive Rs 60,000 crore upgrade of the Su-30MKI fighter jet fleet.

This ambitious project, greenlit by the defence ministry, aims to bolster the aircraft’s capabilities through the integration of cutting-edge technologies, signaling a significant leap forward in India’s indigenous defence manufacturing prowess.

The upgrade project will encompass a wide array of enhancements, including the installation of state-of-the-art radars, advanced mission control systems, electronic warfare capabilities, and the integration of new weapon systems.


HAL Chairman and Managing Director, CB Ananthakrishnan, affirmed to ET that substantial private sector participation would be instrumental, with HAL positioned as the lead integrator for the upgrade initiative.

The project is delineated into two distinct phases, each focusing on different aspects of the aircraft’s modernization. The initial phase will primarily entail the installation of new avionics and radars, while the subsequent phase will concentrate on upgrading the flight control systems. Notably, indigenous systems will replace several Russian-origin components, underscoring India’s steadfast commitment to achieving self-reliance in defence manufacturing.

Key upgrades set to revolutionize the Su-30MKI’s operational capabilities include the installation of an indigenous radar system, designed to significantly enhance target detection and engagement capabilities, thereby addressing previous concerns regarding radar performance.

Additionally, the aircraft will be outfitted with a cutting-edge electronic warfare system, empowering it to effectively counter incoming threats and disrupt adversary communication channels. The integration of indigenous infrared search and track systems will further augment air-to-air and air-to-ground targeting capabilities, ensuring unparalleled precision and effectiveness in combat scenarios.

sukhoi 3

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is poised to commence work on integrating the new systems within the current year. The initial phase of the upgrade project will encompass approximately 90 fighters, all of which will undergo transformation entirely within India, showcasing the nation’s burgeoning capabilities in indigenous defence manufacturing.

The Su-30MKI, constituting the backbone of the IAF’s fighter fleet, with an initial order of 272 jets from Russia, has received a fresh impetus with an additional order for 12 jets cleared last year.

HAL will spearhead the manufacturing process, incorporating over 50 per cent indigenous content, thus reaffirming India’s commitment to self-reliance and indigenization in defence production.

Moreover, with over 600 Su-27/30 type aircraft manufactured globally, countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Algeria present a lucrative export market for these advanced upgrades, positioning India as a key player in the global aerospace industry.

As HAL and DRDO embark on this monumental endeavour, the upgrade of the Su-30MKI fighter jet fleet stands as a testament to India’s unwavering resolve to achieve self-sufficiency in defence technology and bolster its national security capabilities for the challenges of tomorrow.

Pratham Gurung
Pratham Gurung
An avid movie buff who aspires to make it into the armed forces. Always had a knack for words so reading and writing are my favourite hobbies. Can debate on anything but not everything.
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