NEW DELHI – The Indian Air Force is planning to equip part of its Su-30MKI fighter fleet with the new Russian Irbis-E radar, designed for Su-35 fighters.
The Indian Air Force’s decision to integrate Irbis-E into the Su-30MKI, a 4+ generation fighter, would be linked to China’s growing fleet of poaching and Pakistan’s plans to develop its own poaching as part of the AZM project, according to Military Watch magazine .
Meanwhile, radar installation is just “one of several measures that must be applied for fighters to reach next generation fighter level,” according to the publication.
India is also considering equipping the aircraft with new engines based on those used by the Su-35, as well as providing the aircraft with new air-to-air missiles such as the R-37M.
Even with the modifications, India would be considering acquiring Russian Su-35 fighters for its licensed production in the country, which would provide many important technologies that could be integrated into the existing fleet of Su-30MKI fighters,
“It is likely that the SU-30 MKI will continue to be India’s most capable fighter in the near future. With nearly 300 in service, it will form the bulk of the country’s fleet over the coming decades,” according to the magazine.
However, Indian media Zee News reported that India will have its own fifth-generation aircraft soon, which will compete with the US F-22 and F-35, as well as Chinese J-20 and Russian Su-57.
Recently, however, India reportedly ordered a “large amount” of weapons from Russia.
Meanwhile, New Delhi confirmed last month the successful test of missile with a range of more than 70 km, launched from a Su-30MKI fighter aircraft.
The Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), under the tutelage of the federal Ministry of Defense, said the maneuver was carried out to verify and validate projectile performance.
The Astra air-to-air missile can be launched towards its target at a speed of more than 5,555 km/h (Mach 4,5) with a highly explosive 15 kg pre-fragmented warhead.
“Several radars, electro-optical tracking system (EOTS) and sensors tracked the missile and confirmed that it hit its target,” an Indian Ministry of Defense press release said.
The first Astra missile was launched from a Su-30MKI in May 2014, and so far 27 tests have been conducted.