The Indian Air Force, which is in severe need of fighter aircraft, is about to place an order for 12 Russian-designed Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and comprising the three chiefs, is slated to approve its Rs 10,000 crore proposal for the fighters next week.
The fighters, which are Russian-designed but constructed in India by Hindustan Aeronautics, include indigenous and Israeli equipment. The additional Sukhois are being purchased because the IAF is short on fighters, with squadrons numbering in the early 30s instead of the allowed 40. A dozen fighters will make up two-thirds of a squadron that is desperately required. The IAF only has two Rafale squadrons, but it still has older aircraft, such as the upgraded MiG-21 Bison.
70 HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft for the IAF are also on the DAC’s agenda. These were created in-house by Hindustan Aeronautics and are desperately needed by the Indian Air Force, which is short on basic trainers. This transaction is estimated to be worth many thousand crores of rupees. The IAF had recently purchased the Pilatus, but a plan to purchase a second batch fell through.
About 50 suites of electronic warfare equipment developed by Bharat Electronics, valued at almost Rs 2,000 crore, could be cleared by the DAC.