Indian Air Force To Get Russian SU-35 Fighter Jets But Without Really Buying It

The Sukhoi Su-35 is a Russian supermaneuverable fighter jet boasting of updated avionics, a new lightweight frame, 3d thrust vectoring capability besides being termed as stealth aircraft killer.

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The Su-35S was meant as an interim solution; as a state-of-art air superiority fighter to sustain the Russian Aerospace Forces through the 2010s until the Su-57 fifth-generation stealth fighter enters serial production.

However, the Su-35S has been very successful almost too successful for its own good that it appeared to tarnish the reputation its more expensive Su-57 successor. As per experts talking to EurAsian Times, there will an insignificant operational difference between the latest Su-35S units and the first serially-produced Su-57’s.

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Now the Indian Air Force is planning to upgrade the Sukhoi-30MKI with modern “radar and weapons capabilities and also enhance features that tackle obsolescence management and electronic warfare aspects”, Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria confirmed on Friday.

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Experts talking to EurAsian Times stated that the Indian Air Force will upgrade the most sought-after equipment in a fighter jet – i.e. the radar. The upgraded radar would likely be the NIIP N035 Irbis E (Snow Leopard), a 20 KW class steerable hybrid ESA radar fitted on the stealth-killed Su-35.

According to defence experts, at full power, the radar of SU-35 can detect an F-35 at a distance of 58-km and in the tracking mode, the distance drops to 29km.

Designed by the Tikhomirov Scientific Research Institute (NIIP) in Moscow’s Zhukovsky city, the Irbis-E is a direct evolution of the BARS design, all-weather multimode airborne radars of a Russian family, but much more powerful.

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The radar is cited at an average power rating of 5 kilowatts, with 2 kilowatts CW rating for illumination. The NIIP claim twice the bandwidth and improved frequency agility over the BARS, and better electronic counter-countermeasures capability.

The upgradation of Su-30MKI will not take much time as Russia already implemented significant upgrades including radar and engines on the Su-30SM which is in the service of the Russian Air Force.