Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has completed the production of all 272 Su-30MKIs contracted to HAL by the Indian Air Force (IAF) during the current year and is expecting to get a few additional orders for the multi-role fighter jet, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
India’s state-owned HAL was producing 272 Su-30MKI fighter jets on a license from Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation. The company, which is assembling each aircraft at $70.3 million, also expects to continue the Nasik facility for the assembly of additional Su-30MKIs for the IAF. HAL set up a Su-30 (MKI) Refuelling and Overhaul (ROH) project stores facility in Nasik city in Maharashtra state in 2014.
Sputnik reported last year that the state-owned firm had requested that the Defence Ministry provide an additional order for the assembly of 72 Su-30MKI fighters for about $5 billion.
IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, in a media interaction in October 2019, confirmed that the additional Sukhoi-30MKI fighters would be built by HAL in Nasik.
“We are moving towards ordering 12 more Sukhoi-30s. Whether we need some more in lieu of aircraft that are going to get phased out from 2025 onwards… we will have to take a look later. But at the moment, 12 is what is being followed up straightaway”, Bhadauria said.
HAL on Tuesday hoped that with additional Su-30MKI orders and the expected order for 83 domestically made MK1A LCA, “the order book is likely to attain a healthy position during the next financial year 2020-21”.
For the financial year 2019-20, HAL recorded a turnover of over INR 21,100 crore ($3 billion).
The IAF chief also provided details on upgrading the Sukhoi-30MKI with modern “radar and weapons capabilities and also tackling obsolescence management and electronic warfare aspects”.
Earlier this year, the IAF commissioned its first squadron of Su-30MKI with the BrahMos-A (Air) supersonic cruise missiles in the southern part of the country to counter threats emanating from the Indian Ocean Region.
HAL has said that the avionics upgrade of the SU-30MKIs and BrahMos missile modifications would be a game-changer and is important for the future growth of the company.
Currently, the Indian Air Force has been facing a shortage of over 250 fighter jets against a required strength of 42 squadrons (18-20 fighter jets in each).