A prototype of the new upgrade of India’sSukhoi Su-30MKI to Super Sukhoi will be developed in Russia while the actual upgrades will becarried out indigenously in India.
“A prototype of the plane will be developedin Russia while the actual upgrades will be done at India’s state-owned Hindustan AeronauticsLimited,” Sputnik reported quoting an unnamed Russian diplomat as saying Saturday.
Moscow and New Delhi are negotiating plansto upgrade 194 Su-30MKIs to equal the next generation fighter at an estimated cost of$8 billion.
Irkut is currently negotiating to incorporatethe AESA radar in the Sukhoi-30MKIs besides modernizing the cockpit with a head up displayand other systems.
This is designed such that it will be easierfor the pilots to transition to the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft being developedjointly by India and Russia.
The Indian Air Force confirmed that the Su-30MKIupgrade will not impact the proposed Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) program– worth $25 billion.
Analysts believe, however, that a possiblediversion of India’s defense funds towards the Super Sukhoi could delay the FGFA, Sputnikreported.
India and Russia first signed a PreliminaryDevelopment Agreement in 2011 to jointly build the FGFA, but a final agreement which willrequire a roughly $6 billion payment by New Delhi towards the development of the fighterjet has yet to be inked as the two sides continue to negotiate issues relating to productionwork share.
Dajit Singh, a retired IAF Air Marshal anddefense analyst was quoted by Sputnik as saying that there will be significant differencesbetween the upgraded Super Sukhoi and the coming FGFA fighter jet.
"FGFA has some distinct features, which SuperSu-30MKI will not have," said Singh.
"These include internal weapon-carrying baysto enhance stealth features, integrated internal fit of the electronic warfare suite, super-cruisecapability and inherent stealth design.
" “Su-30 cannot be redesigned as a stealthaircraft,” Singh continued.
"Any changes of the wing design and materialto improve stealth would be very expensive and time consuming and would be akin to adifferent design.