India has asked Russia to extend the licence-manufacturing agreement for the Su-30MKI aircraft at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facilities in India. As soon as the 272 planes under the existing order are delivered to the Indian Air Force, the agreement will be revived.
“The request had been made through the Russian agency for military-technical cooperation. Once approved, it could set the ball rolling for extending the life of Su-30SMKI assembly plant at HAL’s Nashik facility”, the informed sources said.
The reports in media speculated that an order for 18 additional Su-30MKI jets including a squadron was in the pipeline and could be taken beyond the 2019-20 timeframe when the current order with HAL is said to expire.
“India’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) has requested Moscow to supply HAL with the necessary raw materials and sub-systems required to build addition squadron of Su-30MKI jets”, the media reports had said.
Under a licence-manufacturing agreement, the HAL has manufactured 202 aircraft by sourcing kits from Russia. The HAL might have to pay the licence fee for the right to manufacture the jets. If the 18-order is passed then it will be the single biggest aircraft fleet with the IAF adding up to some 290 jets.
HAL was facing the prospect of its Su-30MKI assembly line was not operating but with the proposed new order, the Su-30MKI will be an operational assembly line for 2-3 years. The upgraded version of Su-30MKI carries the Brahmos cruise missile as well as locally-made beyond-visual-range missiles.
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