While India maintains a tight geopolitical relationship with the United States, it’s no secret that it also keeps a transactional relationship with Russia, particularly regarding its military equipment.
The same reason why India is not meddling with what’s going on between Russia and Ukraine, unlike other nations that strongly condemn the aggressor because of its dependency on defense supply. In a recent report, Russia is identified as India’s most prominent defense supplier, and up to 80 percent of the latter’s military platform originated from the former. This arms deal includes assault rifles, submarines, and fighter aircraft, including the Su-30MKI.
Also known as “Flanker-H,” this twinjet multirole fighter aircraft is a variant of Sukhoi Su-30 tailor-made according to Indian specifications and its avionic system. India first bought 140 Su-30 fighter jets from Russia in 2000 before a special version was made for the India Air Force (IAF) in 2002 under license by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Su-30MKI was commissioned to service in 2004 with the vision to make the aircraft the backbone of its fighter fleet to 2020 and beyond. Since then, the IAF has maintained an inventory of more than 270 aircraft since 2021.
Su-30MKI With Indian Flair
The Su-30MKI shares many features and components from previous “Flanker” jets, adding its flair of “Indian design and built processor hardware in the Mission Computers, Radar Data Processor provide under the Vetrivale (Lance) industry program, and some items of Israeli and EU hardware.” It also has “a Sextant Avionique HUD, and RLG (Ring Laser Gyro) INS/GPS, glass cockpits, NIIP N011M phased array, AL-31FP TVC engines, enlarged rudders, Su-33/35/37 canards, and aerial refueling probe, and an improved OLS-30 IRST package,” among its long list of notable features.