( Su-30 MKI at AeroIndia 2015 )
The Russians offered Sukhoi Su-27 and MiG-29 to Pakistan at almost the same time they did it for India. The Russian negotiations team landed in Pakistan and PAF evaluated Su-27s at PAF base Mushaf in Saragodha. A point in history when India was also considering a tailor made variant of Su-30MK, The advanced Su-30 variant.
Even back then and also today certain aviation enthusiasts media reports point out this event and say that Russia offered Su-27 and MiG-29 to Pakistan just to pressurise Indians for having a bigger order of Su-30s. They are of the opinion that Su-30MKI deal was a disaster and many critical indegenisation opportunities could have been drawn out from this deal. Many journalists’ written articles on prominent news websites have also claimed that Su-30 MKI’s indegensation did not propel the development program for a homegrown fighter in a manner expected. Many serious, baseless and false accusations that Su-30 MKI is a lost opportunity or IAF is struggling to meet operational readiness has been levelled.
( Su-30 MKI at Aero India 2015 )
This “well intentioned” criticism of made in India defence equipment is affecting the minds of general public and making them have a false belief that Indians cannot be self dependent. This has led to a sense of ignorance to the painstaking efforts taken by numerous people for the development program of modern combat aircraft system and the ecosystem that keeps them flying.
(Su-27S in Pakistani Colours)
Well, this isn't first time in history that Russian weapon is anticipated to be seen in Pakistani arsenal. Soviet Russia also offered MiG 21 and Su-7 to PAF. But a relatively better deal came in the form of F-7 Skybolt. How does this doesn't sound odd that at the exact same time China itslef made a Request for Tender ( Russians didn't offer it themselves Chinese made the request ) for an advanced variant of Su-30. So if the logic , that Su-27 offer to Pakistan was designed to make India jealous holds truth, we can also say that Russia's offer of Su-30 to India compelled China into purchasing the same in good numbers. Actually those who handle these acquisition affairs aren't any propaganda believers to be jealous for silly things. Even one of the most reliable sources here can be seen reporting that China got triggered and ordered 50 Su-30 MKK from KNAAPO. Yes, corruption can definitely influence the decisions of acquisition………..but jealousy , seriously ?????
( PLAAF Sukhoi Su-30MKK )
( Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30 MKI at AeroIndia 2017 )
Both India and China had their own reasons for such an acquisition. Indian's needed to have an unchallenged Superiority over adversary’s skies so that striking the high value targets would be uninterrupted for that purpose an advanced multirole fighter was needed.
Russians actually offered to Pakistan the Su-27 which was half a generation older than the latest variant and was to be supplied by Sukhoi’s dying factory in Ukraine.
In China's context they just had their security concerns vis a vis US. They signed the deal to get Su-30 at the end of 1996. Just the same year when India did. Chinese were already operating Su-27SK since 1992. Final details for the procurement of Su-30 MKK went on till 1998-99. I won't go any detail in this that isn't our topic of discussion.
( image taken from Air Power Australia )
The MKI deal October 2000.
When the indegeneous weapons programs were stalled because of western sanctions and the risk of a Nuclear war loomed over. The headlines were filled with news of floods in eastern states including West Bengal. The deal was signed to manufacture Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs in phased manner.
In October 2000, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed for Indian licence-production of 140 Su-30MKIs; in December 2000, a deal was sealed at Russia's Irkutsk aircraft plant for full technology transfer.
( Su-30 MKI production facility at Nashik )
The MKI deal was signed for producing 140 Su-30MKI to be locally manufactured by HAL, Nashik. It was probably the first time when an export customer was delivered a weapon which is half a generation ahead than that operated by the home air force. Even before this deal India already had Su-30K and Su-30MK. After two years of evaluation and negotiations, on 30 November 1996, India signed a US$1.462 billion deal with Sukhoi for 50 Russian-produced Su-30MKIs in five batches. The first batch were eight Su-30MKs, the basic version of Su-30. The second batch were to be 10 Su-30Ks with French and Israeli avionics. The third batch were to be 10 Su-30MKIs featuring canard foreplanes. The fourth batch of 12 Su-30MKIs and final batch of 10 Su-30MKIs were to have the AL-31FP turbofans. This was a necessary and correct decision taken to neutralise the strategic advantage that China was getting by ordering heavy numbers of Su-27SK.
( Su-30 MKI production facility at Nashik )
The MKI production was since the beginning supposed to happen in four phases, gradually increasing the indigenous content in the aircraft. In the first stage the Sukhois were built from completed knocked down kits moving to semi knocked down kits in subsequent stages.
In the fourth phase it is largely made from our own manufactured equipment. It is incorrectly said by many that IAF did a jugaad ( ontime adjustment ) by pushing in indigenous content in Su-30 MKI thus making it a little bit viable for the force.
The number of indigenous components used on Su-30 MKI can be seen by downloading the document below.
-It was started in DRDO as an attempt to develop indigenous avionics for Su-30MKI. Under this project Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) has developed Mission Computers, Display Processors and Radar computers which are now manufactured by HAL'S Hyderabad Division. The other DARE product Tarang RWR which is manufactured by BEL at its Bangalore facility, alerts the pilot to all surrounding "threats" such as radar-controlled guns and missiles for initiating evasive action or counter-measures.
Read more about Project Vetrivale : Click on the button below.
The Aviation Ecosystem
-We used to be highly dependent on foriegn suppliers prior to the 90s and even very basic components had to be routinely ordered from outside by the industrial giants. This situation was supposed to be changed. The sanctions imposed on India after 1998 nuclear tests paralised many of our needs. Their was no single entity in the Ganarajya (Republic) that had the capability to build composite airframes, aerospace-grade actuators, ruggedised (or even commercial-grade) avionics, multi-function displays, or high-performance jet engines. Today TASL is making frames of helicopters in which US Presidents would fly. The BHEL is manufacturing gas turbines for powerplants with technologies meant for Kaveri Engines. The mission computers, electronic warfare systems, man machine interface, flight control systems, composite airframe technology, onboard oxygen generating system are all flying in various IAF fighters like Jaguar, MiG 21 and MiG 27 and Su-30 MKI. All these components are developed and manufactured by local entities.
i Hyderabad based Astra Microwave Products Ltd. has posed itself as the manufacturing partner for foreign OEM’s looking to Make their Products in India and supplying to the swiftly increasing demands of defense forces in India for modern equipment.
You will be more fascinated to know about Astra Microwave Products limited when you would see this video.
ii Data Patterns is India's leader in indigenously developed electronic systems in the Defence and Aerospace domain. Data Patterns' key strength is founded on it's 30-year history of developing high reliability products in this domain with the broad capability to develop and manufacture any high reliability product.
iii Samtel Display Systems has gone it alone in developing the Su-30MKI MFDs, despite having a JV with Thales. Starting with liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, commercially procured from Japan and Korea, Samtel has ruggedised them for use in military avionics. The display must be easily readable even in bright sunlight.
AND THESE ARE JUST A FEW SELECTED NAMES.
The nation can now take (or threaten ) military action against nations that pressurise us directly or by indirectly supporting militancy. Having manufacturing units and economic might our forces gain unlimited supply of war fighting equipment.
The Upgrades of IAF Fighters
The upgrade programs of many old fighter planes in IAF was facilitated due to the advanced avionics developed for Su-30 MKI. It all happened because of Project Vetrivale. That we were able to use them thus creating greater orders for the big aviation ecosystem in India.
HAL has designed radar altimeters and communication equipment. DRDO developed a new Core Avionics Computer CAC which is a modular platform that has formed a basis for upgrades of MiG-27 and Jaguars. The original equipment manufacturers of spare parts and avionics of MiG-27 are dead, They died just after the fall of USSR. Had it been DRDO wouldn't have got an opportunity to develop CAC for Su-30 MKI the Jaguars and MiG-27s would have to be phased out seriously hindering operational readiness of the Air Force. The success of Su-30 MKI and Project Vetrivale also heralds a new environment of cooperation between IAF and Defence PSUs. Not only the Air Dominance fighter provides superiority over Subcontinent’s skies but the high level efficient management done by various organisations for such a complex weapon system like Su-30 MKI had been quite unparalleled in independent India's history.
The Sepecat Jaguar DARIN lll ( Display Attack Ranging and Inertial Navigation ) will receive two Smart Multi-Function Displays and Engine & Flight Instrumentation System, Navigation Systems, Software updates, integrated around an advanced Mission Computer on DARIN Jaguar aircraft for improved operational capabilities significantly furthur increasing indigenous content in it. The possibility of an indigenous AESA radar couldn't be neglected.
India has accrued a long term economic and strategic benefits by believing in self and relieving the forces from dependency on foreign manufacturers.
The industrial ecosystem being developed in India as of today would surely make the development of an indegeneous fifth generation fighter relatively smoother, quick and facing less obstacles that were faced by LCA program. The manufacturing sector ecosystem developed by Su-30 MKI and advanced test facilities developed by LCA program. This why we must celebrate the success of Sukhoi Su-30 MKI.
The endless bickering over minute technical details must stop. - Mihir Shah, swarajyamag.com
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Sources of Information
Main Material Source :-
Information regarding Pakistan’s interest in Su-27 and related information.