New War Toy for IAF
Date: Saturday , October 26, 2002
This time, if war comes, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is BETTER equipped than ever before in air power. The IAF is armed with the Russian-built Sukhoi-30 MKI jet aircraft that can hit a target 60 miles away. The aircraft squadron will serve as the sword arm of the IAF for the next few decades.
In addition to the 50 aircraft it has ordered from Russia since 1996, in two separate contracts worth $1.6 billion (Rs 78 billion), India will build 140 more Su-30MKIs under license over the next 15 years.
“The powers of the aircraft and its ability will add to our air defenses and will be a demonstration of our power to countries that cast an evil eye on us,” George Fernandes, India’s defense minister, said while inducting the aircraft at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, at the air force base in Pune on September 27.
Air Chief Marshal K. Krishnaswamy described the event as “one of the most important milestones” in the history of the Force.The induction of the aircraft came ten days before the IAF celebrates its 70th anniversary.
In comparison with the Chinese air force, IAF’s Sukhoi is a more sophisticated and a variant of the basic multi-role jet, using the latest avionics and electronic warfare systems sourced from France, Israel, and Russia. The integration of this diverse equipment into the aircraft created several problems, leading to a delay of nearly two years in Russian deliveries of the Su-30MKI variant.
On air-to-surface missions, the Su-30 can carry various “smart” missiles for different missions like Kh-29L/T or KAB-500Kr laser/TV-guided bombs, Kh-31A or Kh-59M anti-ship missiles, and Kh-59 Kh-31P or Kh-25MP anti-radiation missiles. The aircraft has a maximum speed of 845 miles per hour and can climb 45,300 feet in a minute.