Indian Air Force Su-30MKIs in tactical formation (Image © Irkut)

Indian Air Force prepping for 126 extra Su-30s, Rafale storm continues

UPDATED 16 FEBRUARY 2015 | The Indian Air Force is quietly preparing to receive an additional 126 Sukhoi Su-30MKI multi-role fighters. Within a month’s time, two senior defence officials confirmed that the Russian-made jets are the first alternative if Dassault and the French government don’t save the Rafale deal by meetin more Indian demands.

The sale of 24 Rafales to the Egyptian Air Force has given Paris new hope in selling the 4.5th generation fighter to India. However, news from New Delhi is significantly less optimistic with the Indians saying France is not meeting their demands. India wants 108 Rafales to be assembled/produced by India’s own Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), with another 18 aircraft to be built by Dassault in France. Dassault and Paris are reportedly not too keen to give HAL that much insight in the Rafale’s technology.

Roller coaster
The negotiations were like a roller coaster ride since last Autumn, with a storm front hitting the French-Indian Rafale deal once again. The contract has been the subject of a lot of hassle already, with loads of information and disinformation spread via the media. The latest is that the Indians allegedly miscalculated the Rafale’s costs. The Egyptian purchase comes at a very welcome time for the French, and it’s not unreasonable to think that this deal was rushed in order to put pressure on the Indians.

Russia’s state-export agency Rosoboronexport is now gearing up to get more Su-30MKIs to the second most populated country of the world. The Indian Air Force is already receiving 272 of these combat jets, with final deliveries planned before 2020.

© 2015 editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Indian Air Force Su-30MKIs in tactical formation (Image © Irkut)

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