The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is set to grant approval for two of India's largest fighter aircraft projects, worth a total of Rs 1.3 lakh crore, in a Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting scheduled to be held tomorrow (30 November), reported ANI.
The projects include the purchase of 97 new LCA Mark 1A fighter aircraft and the indigenous upgrade of 84 Su-30 MKI combat planes.
The 97 LCA Mark-1A project is expected to significantly bolster India’s fighter aircraft manufacturing capabilities and assist the Indian Air Force (IAF) in replacing its aging MiG-21 fleet, which is currently being phased out.
The IAF has previously ordered 83 LCA Mark1A fighter planes, with deliveries anticipated to commence in February-March 2024.
The contract for the 97 aircraft is expected to be valued at around Rs 65,000 crore, making it the largest fighter aircraft deal in the nation's history.
The Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft upgrade programme is another major initiative, planned to be entirely indigenous. It involves fitting Indian weapons, sensors, and radars onto the Russian-origin planes and is estimated to cost about Rs 64,000 crores.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), will undertake the complete design and development of the upgrade, including the installation of the latest AESA radars on the aircraft.
Currently, the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter jets form the backbone of the IAF, with 260 units in service. These jets, which constitute about half of the IAF’s fighter fleet, have been inducted in various batches.
IAF is looking to buy an additional 12 Su-30 MKIs and has released tenders for HAL to manufacture these jets, as well.
The upgrade plan for the Su-30MKI fleet is also seen as a potential export opportunity by the IAF as several countries in Southeast Asia and Africa operate these aircraft and could adopt these advanced solutions for their fleets.
Editorial Associate at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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