Sukhoi fleet to fly with India-made MFDs


More than half of Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi fleet would soon be flying with a critical cockpit component that is made in India.

Samtel HAL Display Systems (SHDS), a joint venture between Samtel Avionics and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), has handed over about a thousand units of indigenously manufactured multi-function display (MFD) to state-run HAL.

Sukhoi 30 MKI is the mainstay of the Indian Air Force fleet. The Sukhoi is a twinjet multirole air superiority fighter developed by Russia’s Sukhoi and built under licence by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The MFD’s are for installation in the Sukhoi 30 MKI fighter aircraft fleet. Out of a planned fleet of 272 Sukhoi aircraft with the Indian Air Force, 143 would be flying with India-made MFDs – a critical component of an aircraft cockpit.

SHDS is the only company to receive CEMILAC (Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification) Type Approval for manufacturing MFDs. The Samtel-HAL joint venture was set up in 2007 to address the avionics requirements, including test benches and systems for all IAF star platforms – both fixed and rotary wing.

Development of the variant started after India signed a deal with Russia in 2000 to manufacture 140 Su-30 fighter jets. The first Russian-made Su-30MKI variant was accepted into the Indian Air Force in 2002, while the first indigenously assembled Su-30MKI entered service with the IAF in 2004. Additional MKIs have been ordered to increase the total from 272 to 314. A variant of the Sukhoi Su-30, it is a heavy, all-weather, long-range fighter. The Su-30MKI is expected to form the backbone of the Indian Air Force’s fighter fleet to 2020 as India is expected to Rafale fighter jets to supplement its air power.

The Sukhois are tailor-made for Indian specifications and integrates Indian systems and avionics as well as French and Israeli sub-systems.

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