What is the plan of the HAL & IAF for the Su-30MKI after China bought 24 Su-35-S jets?
Super Sukhoi is an upgrade plan for Su-30 fleet that is currently under consideration. Under this upgrade, HAL along with Sukhoi will modify/upgrade 194 Su-30MKI to next-generation standards giving as equal capability as Su-35 that is advanced than current Su-30MKI.
India had stepped up for final negotiations with Russia in 2017 to upgrade its 194 Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole aircraft with the near fifth-generation level at a cost of more than $8 billion. However, there is no final statement whether the deal has been done or not.
India is planning to upgrade its Su-30MKI fighters with Phazotron Zhuk-AE Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar (also fitted in MiG 35). It is a X-Band configured radar that can track 30 aerial targets in the track as well as scan mode and engage six targets simultaneously. In AESA radar, the beam shifts direction electronically, switching rapidly between multiple targets. It is capable for multi-tasks: tracking numerous enemy aircraft and ground targets and guiding missiles to them. It offers much improved performance and reliability compared with mechanically scanned array radars. It will also offers higher jam-resistant features, low Probability Interception and higher detection means over greater ranges.
The Engine upgrade includes introduction of AL-41F-1S Turbofan Engine featuring 3-Dimensional Thrust Vectors and Digital Integrated Control that is also integrated on Su 35 “Super Flanker”.It gives a thrust of 14,500 kgf and features 10% lesser fuel consumption than its previous variants.
Indigenous DRDO DARE Dual Color Missile Approaching Warning System will be integrated to provide missile approach warning/alarm by using audio-video feature. A new advanced Radar Warning Receiver system, which can detect radar signals , and can give audio warning to the pilot regarding missile threats will give the cutting edge technology to the fighter.
But all this will be fruitful only if our defence department agrees to invest money on this programme. While this upgrade programme of 194 Su 30MKI is suffering huge delays since its introduction, it is quite possible that it may be withdrawn just like FGFA where Russians were demanding high prices. But I am not sure. We may agree to this upgrade after 1–2 years.
The sources said the plan involves equipping the aircraft with long-range stand-off missiles up to the range of 300 km and a request for information (ROI) was issued recently for procuring such a weapon system from global vendors.Also under a Program the HAL and DRDO working to integrate Brahmos A missile with the MKI, a 44 of the Su 30 MKI can be modified to carry the Brahmos A missile, a Nuclear warhead is on the option. which may be fall under SFC,
The Possible Upgrades to the MKI is adding more effective Multi role, like Multiple ejector Rack, AESA radar, more powerful EW and Jamming systems, along with High performance Engines,
The missiles with a range around 300 kms would be in addition to the 290-km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles which would be carried by around 50 aircraft of the force.The same also integrating Anti armour missiles into Su 30 MKI to perform CAS missions, for doing anti armour and CAS missions, the fighter comes to very low, and need a visual identification before striking,
The aircraft would also have the highly-advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar along with the latest avionics systems. India have wide options of AESA, ERDE already developed a AESA multi mode radar with the support of Israeli Elta, which is unveiled in Aero India 2015, which can be fitted into MKI, while it was originally designed for MK2 Tejas, a modified version can be used in Su 30MKI, also variety of foreign options also available, we can buy from either Israeli’s, Americans or French,
Another major aspects is the Engines, the engine issue in Su 30 MKI is a Major problem, while it comes with Dual engines, even one fails the other can bring the fighter to home base, the 117S engine from Russia seems good, who also power the Su 35, otherwise we may go for west for good Engines, but Better Idea is a Joint venture with some Foreign, a Engine for Indian projects must needed, we already have a Joint venture with General Electrical with an Indian private company.