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Old 15th October 2019, 16:37   #781
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

By the time the RFI, RFP etc stages are over and the time to place order comes, the government will be in election mode again. And the decision will have to wait for the next government.

I have a hunch it will ultimately be the F21. There will be arm twisting by the US and Russia, other geopolitical considerations; arms purchases are not always based on merit alone. We may ultimately see the new fighters after 2024.

But one thing is sure. No country can ever become a super power by purchasing all it's arms from foreign countries.

Last edited by Gansan : 15th October 2019 at 16:39. Reason: Add content.
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Old 23rd October 2019, 20:14   #782
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Here is the official video of Tejas Naval Prototype journey and it gives a glimpse into the arrestor hook mechanism used. Eagerly waiting for the Vikramaditya landing test.

Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-tejasarrestorhookmechanism.jpg

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Old 23rd October 2019, 21:42   #783
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post
Any idea why the Dassault Mirage2000 jets are being retired much before the SEPECAT Jaguars? As far as I know, the Mirage2000s are newer jets both in terms of their design/development as well as their actual age and time spent in our fleet.
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Old 23rd October 2019, 22:55   #784
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
Any idea why the Dassault Mirage2000 jets are being retired much before the SEPECAT Jaguars? As far as I know, the Mirage2000s are newer jets both in terms of their design/development as well as their actual age and time spent in our fleet.
With a few exceptions almost all our Mirage were built in the late 1980s to early 1990s. While the Jaguars entered service in 1978 or 1979 the last squadrom was built in the early 2000s. Hence, maybe, this 8 year gap for just the tail end.
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Old 13th December 2019, 15:58   #785
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Wow! Buying American warplanes comes with lots of strings attached. Americans are reprimanding Pakistanis for moving F16s to forward bases without their permission/ authorization.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1522014/do...ition-on-f-16s
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Old 13th December 2019, 16:04   #786
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post
Wow! Buying American warplanes comes with lots of strings attached. Americans are reprimanding Pakistanis for moving F16s to forward bases without their permission/ authorization.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1522014/do...ition-on-f-16s
I have drawn a parallel with the Indian Navy's acquisition of INS Jalashwa (formerly USS Trenton) from Uncle Sam before, but it bears repeating.

The Jalashwa is a ship meant for amphibious operations and serves as a big landing craft with men, material and even choppers on board.

Uncle Sam has made us agree to not use her in an actual invasion. Then it begs the question - why did we even buy it? Why did the Pakistanis even buy the F 16s, in a similar vein?
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Old 13th December 2019, 16:44   #787
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by locusjag View Post
Why did the Pakistanis even buy the F 16s, in a similar vein?
Pakistan has received all the armaments from US of A under the guise of needing it to fight against terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan. So obviously, Pakistan would have convinced US of A that they absolutely need state-of-the-art F16 to fight off the ultra-modern air force of Taliban.

Jokes aside, this is an important dimension in defense deals where one does not always go with L1 bidder. France has the most businessman-like attitude where they sell and that's it. Even Eurofighter is fraught with risk given all the EU members.

Heck, common people buy cars keeping aside features, performance and value for money just for peace of mind but expect Government defense purchases purely on L1 basis.
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Old 13th December 2019, 20:05   #788
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
With a few exceptions almost all our Mirage were built in the late 1980s to early 1990s. While the Jaguars entered service in 1978 or 1979 the last squadrom was built in the early 2000s. Hence, maybe, this 8 year gap for just the tail end.
You are on the money sir! Also, the Jags (Most if not all) have had mid-life upgrades and also updated avionics (Darin 1/2/3). The last build Jaguar rolled off the lines in 2003 (IIRC). Also as we had the lines for this aircraft, the older builds were upgraded by HAL wrt airframes and engines. The Adour engines are also used in the Hawk trainers (the 'Dry' version). Dont even get me started on how we missed an opportunity to get the whole assembly line of the M2K to India, due to short sightedness of the (rant/). Also the Mirages while still cutting edge (compared to the existing inventory) are becoming obsolete (they are at best 3.X generation now) and will soon be relegated as no major upgrades are planned (Avionics, radar, etc) and will be supplemented/ replaced by the Tejas Mk2. While the late build Jaguars are still potent ground/ maritime attack aircraft - which will be replaced later with MCA's (and the Tejas Mk2)
Quote:
Originally Posted by locusjag View Post
I have drawn a parallel with the Indian Navy's acquisition of INS Jalashwa (formerly USS Trenton) from Uncle Sam before, but it bears repeating.

The Jalashwa is a ship meant for amphibious operations and serves as a big landing craft with men, material and even choppers on board.

Uncle Sam has made us agree to not use her in an actual invasion. Then it begs the question - why did we even buy it? Why did the Pakistanis even buy the F 16s, in a similar vein?

I think the primary reason for taking on the Trenton was to score some brownie points in terms of geo-political strategy. It was probably the first of the US products to enter the indian defence services - more like a test run. Also helped us to get used to 'the US' style of machinery maybe. It also allowed us to get 'humanitarian' assistance capability which we lacked (It was the largest ship after the aircraft carriers). Also the Sea Kings that came with it added to the complement (when we were short on medium helos in the Navy). In the most recent refit some systems were changed to Indian systems which meant that it was out of the purview and regulation of the US checks.
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Heck, common people buy cars keeping aside features, performance and value for money just for peace of mind but expect Government defense purchases purely on L1 basis.
An important aspect of the F16 sale at that time was the US support to Pakistan. We had shown interest in purchasing the Mig29 (the USSR equivalent of the F16) and the US to maintain its 'ally' had given them the 16s and some attack helos (AH1 Cobras if my memory serves me right). Government purchases while also being L1 can be also designed to ensure that only certain stuff even qualifies (the RFP/ RFQ's being designed that way), then a lot of other 'nice stuff' happening
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Old 13th December 2019, 23:24   #789
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
With a few exceptions almost all our Mirage were built in the late 1980s to early 1990s. While the Jaguars entered service in 1978 or 1979 the last squadrom was built in the early 2000s. Hence, maybe, this 8 year gap for just the tail end.
The first two Jaguars arrived in India in July, 1979. These became part of the first squadron which was formed with RAF planes loaned to India. These were returned to UK after the made-for-India Jaguars arrived from UK in early 1980s. The last lot of Jaguars was produced in Bangalore in 2008-09. Check this:

http://ajaishukla.blogspot.com/2008/...guars.html?m=1

The report suggesting that we will phase out Mirages before the Jaguars is obviously incorrect, more so when we have abandoned the Jaguar re-engine programme that was meant to extend their life. Jaguar is a non-fly-by-wire 3rd generation plane whereas 2000 is a proper 4th generation machine with multi-role capability that Jaguar does not have nor was designed to have.

Last edited by directinjection : 13th December 2019 at 23:25.
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Old 14th December 2019, 10:08   #790
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by torquecurve View Post
An important aspect of the F16 sale at that time was the US support to Pakistan. We had shown interest in purchasing the Mig29 (the USSR equivalent of the F16) and the US to maintain its 'ally' had given them the 16s and some attack helos (AH1 Cobras if my memory serves me right). Government purchases while also being L1 can be also designed to ensure that only certain stuff even qualifies (the RFP/ RFQ's being designed that way), then a lot of other 'nice stuff' happening
The MiG-29 was not not available for export when the first talk of PAF F-16 acquisition came out. The Indian govt of the time ordered Mirage 2000s as a counter to the F-16s.

The F-16s started getting delivered to the PAF from 1983 onwards. As a kneejerk reaction and probably out of panic, MiG-23MFs were ordered, which were delivered quickly by the Soviets. Two IAF squadrons - No. 223 "Tridents" & No. 224 "Warlords" were raised on the MiG-23MF, which gace the IAF BVR capability for the first time (BVR effectiveness of the R-23R/T BVR missile & the High Lark radar(downgraded) of the MiG-23MF was questionable).

Then IAF Air Chief, ACM Idris Latif had famously remarked that PAF F-16 acquisition would be a game changer in the sub-continent - "The IAF would require 40 sorties ti do what the F-16s could do in four. To ignore a major threat like that would a be a major dereliction of duty".

First of the Mirage 2000s started getting delivered to the IAF in 1985( there was an option of license production by HAL). But he Soviets offered the MiG-29 at cheap prices with an option for License production as well. 60+ MiG-29s were acquired, which were inducted in 1987 with No. 28 "First Supersonics" Sqdn. Years later, neither the MiG-29 nor the Mirage 2000 was license manufactured in India, with the Mirage license production offer open till 2006!!!!

The IAF's MiG-29 experience in the early 90s was bitter( poor spare parts supply, troublesome maintenance) and the fact that it was an air superiority fighter(for that time), they may have been reasons why MiG-29 license production was never taken seriously. I am not sure if it was the high cost of license manufacturing, lobbying by the Russians, or pure political incompetence that led to the indecision of license manufacturing , but in the end it was the IAF that suffered!!

I think the same mistake is being repeated with the Rafale acquisition now and it will be the third time with the same manufacturer. In the early 60s, there was an offer of license manufacturing the Mirage III, which was deemed expensive. Then came the Mirage 2000 and now the Rafale. What is the point of wasting time and doing trials again with the same set of fighters, when earlier trials, which led to acquisition of 36 Rafales, clearly proved that the Rafale was superior!!!!

In contrast, the PAF acquisition of the F-16s is not only fascinating but driven by single minded determination of getting exactly what they want. Not many know that when the US began re-engaging with Pakistan in the mid-70s, the first offer of aircraft made to them was of 100+ A-7D Corsair II, to be funded by the Saudis, but on the condition that Pakistan gave up its plane to purchase Nuclear reactors from France and allow full access to its nuclear weapons programme. The Pakistanis refused. This was the time when the IAF was looking at a ground attack fighter for its DPSA requirements(for which the Jaguar was selected).

Then again in 1979, the Americans made yet another offer of selling 100+ F-5E or F-20 to Pakistan if they bought their nuclear programme under International, or atleast American inspections. This proposed sale was further motivated by the worsening situation in Afghanistan(where the Soviets invaded the country) and suddenly the Americans needed Pakistan again to counter the Soviets. The Pakistanis were unwilling to compromise on its nuclear programme and this was sale rejected by Pakistan.

With the Soviet invasion complete in Afghanistan, it was clear to Pakistan that they could now arm twist the US to get what they wanted. In 1982, the Saudis offered Pakistan a long term loan, from which Pakistan wanted to order F-16s from the US. The US,worried about India's objections, tried to offer Pakistan the F-16/79, a downgraded version of the standard F-16 powered by the F-4's J-79 engine (the standard F-16 meant for US & NATO Air Forces were powered by the GE F100 engine). The PAF deemed the F-16/79 to be less capable with a highly fuel-inefficient engine, with less maneuverability, acceleration and climb performance than the F-16/F100 combination. It did however admit that in the ground attack role, there was no difference between the two.

The US also offered to sell AH-1S Cobras, M60 & M1 tanks. Pakistan refused the tanks stating that their existing M-47 & M-48 tanks were enough for their needs. They however purchased Cobras from the Saudi loan.

It was only after the US decided to intervene in Afghanistan in support of the rebels that the US approved the sale of 40 F-16A/Bs to Pakistan(of which 12 were twin seat F-16Bs, which meant they were preparing for a large pool of pilots and acquire a large fleet of F-16s). The PAF insisted that the F-5/F-20 offer was decade too late and wanted only F-16s. The F-16 acquisition was in line with its thinking that it should have possess a smaller number of the best fighter aircraft, rather than the Indian preference which had been larger number of less expensive fighters.

Had the US not chosen to intervene in Afghanistan, the PAF might never had F-16s. They did and the PAF got what they wanted!!! To speed up deliveries, F-16s earmarked for deliveries to NATO air forces were diverted to Pakistan. This was followed by another order of 30+F-16s. F-16 deliveries to Pakistan began in 1983, and at the time, the IAF had nothing to counter the F-16 threat.

The thing that is fascinating from this little not so well known note about Pakistani F-16 acquisition is that Pakistan was only going after what they needed, rejecting what they deemed inferior or not needed. They thought clearly and did not splurge the money(technically, not theirs though) on unwanted resources. By contrast and in hindsight, what we did in the same period was muddled with confusion.

If the US hadn't placed an embargo on Pakistan and not withheld F-16s deliveries to Pakistan in the 90s, Pakistan might well have ordered more F-16s in the 90s and today might well have been the 2nd largest operator of F-16s after the US.

Last edited by skanchan95 : 14th December 2019 at 10:15.
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Old 14th December 2019, 10:56   #791
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by skanchan95 View Post
The MiG-29 was not not available for export when the first talk of PAF F-16 acquisition came out. The Indian govt of the time ordered Mirage 2000s as a counter to the F-16s.
Sir, what an invaluable post- worth its weight in gold.

Please can you or other experts on the matter share that how SU-30 happened to India? Probably someone must have explained and I have missed, but with SU-30 in its fleet, how does India compare to other forces, especially against Pak.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 14th December 2019, 11:23   #792
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Originally Posted by skanchan95 View Post
In contrast, the PAF acquisition of the F-16s is not only fascinating but driven by single minded determination of getting exactly what they want.

If the US hadn't placed an embargo on Pakistan and not withheld F-16s deliveries to Pakistan in the 90s, Pakistan might well have ordered more F-16s in the 90s and today might well have been the 2nd largest operator of F-16s after the US.
Thanks Skanchan for the detailed writeup As always very informative read especially for a Saturday morning.

Regarding the "single minded determination of getting exactly what they want" of the PAF, I would like to point out that this has also lead to them being always under control of the Americans as they put strict restrictions on how the F-16s are operated, where they are based and when support is withdrawn(like in Kargil when CAP sorties had to be reduced due to lack of essential spares). They had a single minded frame of mind of acquiring F-16s without thinking about all the factors involved.

A very recent example regarding the February skirmish:

State Department Reprimanded Pakistan for Misusing F-16s, Document Shows
https://www.usnews.com/news/world-re...document-shows

Also its unlikely the PAF (about 76 jets) would have become the 2nd largest operator of F-16s as they far off from other larger F-16 operators like Israel (224), Egypt (218) and Turkey (245). It would have been difficult for them to afford these kind of numbers. I remember they had placed an order of 36 F-16C/Ds after sanctions were lifted due to the nuclear tests by the US and due to lack of funds this order was reduced to 18.

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Old 14th December 2019, 12:09   #793
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Originally Posted by skanchan95 View Post
The MiG-29 was not not available for export....
I stand corrected. Had written what I could remember. Thank you for an incredible post.
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Old 15th December 2019, 22:19   #794
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Not related to the India and Pakistan conflict, but came across this article on F-16.net, a comprehensive website dedicated to F-16s. A perfect example of western propaganda never accepting a defeat and distorting the facts.

In any other circumstances a missile exploding near a plane and causing it to crash would be described as shot down but for a US aircraft its due to sudden engine failure

NATO military spokesman Colonel Konrad Freytag said the U.S. F-16CG (#88-0550) suffered engine failure as it returned from a mission over Yugoslavia and the cause was being investigated. Serbian media said the aircraft had been shot down.

Source: http://www.f-16.net/f-16-news-article214.html

USAF #88550
F-16C Block 40
Lost over Serbia near Nakucani during operation Allied Force due to engine failure, which was caused by a nearby SA-3 explosion.

Source: http://www.f-16.net/aircraft-databas...e-profile/2787

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Old 16th December 2019, 12:27   #795
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Sir, what an invaluable post- worth its weight in gold.

Please can you or other experts on the matter share that how SU-30 happened to India? Probably someone must have explained and I have missed, but with SU-30 in its fleet, how does India compare to other forces, especially against Pak.

Regards,
Saket
Please don't call me sir. We are all aviation enthusiasts here on this thread. As Narayan Sir says so frequently - Every day is a new day to learn something new. I am no expert and I also get to learn something new everyday.

Believe it or not, when the Su -30 sale was first proposed by Russia in the early 90s, there was no requirement at all for a heavy, long range, multi-role fighter by the IAF!!!

The Su-30 sale was first proposed to India during a visit of the then Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1993. He held talks with the Indian PM - P V Narasimha Rao, which was primarily to renew the old 20 year Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Peace and Co-operation.The same treaty that was signed between in August 1971. The then Indian PM, Indira Gandhi signed withis treaty with Russia as Pakistan was supported by China openly with covert support from the US. This treaty helped in accelerating supplies of Russian military equipment especially in the last quarter of 1971, as India prepared for war with Pakistan.

The 1993 treaty further envisaged to continue supplies of Russian military equipment to meet the needs of the Indian Armed Forces and look at joint production of military equipment. In 1994, the Indian PM visited Russia and signed further agreements, most important of which was the supply of Sukhoi fighters to India.

A couple of months before the Indian PM's visit to Russia to sign the Sukhoi deal agreement, Sukhoi made a proposal to the Indian govt to evaluate Su-30 fighters with and aim of selling it to the IAF. SUkhoi had a number of surplus twin seat Su-27PU(twin seat version of the Su-27P interceptor) airframes after cancellation of an order by the Russian Air Force because of funding problems. As a sales ploy, Sukhoi rebranded the Su-27PU as the "Su-30" to attract potential export customers. A little later an IAF & ASTE team led by then Air Commodore S Krishnaswamy (later Air Chief) visited Russia. The team was impressed by the Su-30 and reported that eventhough the Su-30 was primarily designed in the air defence role(as it was based on the Su-27P), it had tremendous potential to be a true heavy multi-role fighter with the backseater working as the WSO(Weapon Systems Operator). As there was no ASR(Air Staff requirements) for the aircraft type, the IAF & ASTE had to write one for the Su-30.

One of the major comments/requirements in the ASR was about the survivability of the Su-30 in the modern day air defence environment against highly capable SAMs and air to air missiles. It called for integration of modern radar, avionics suite and EW equipment from a mix of Russian, Western( read Israeli/French) and Indian equipment. The ASR also called for a variant equipped with thrust vectoring engines amd canards to aid in maneuverability , a state of the art fly by wire system and the latest Phased array radar available from Russia. This definitive Indian Su-30 variant was to be called the Su-30MKI. To jointly develop the aircraft, an Indian team of IAF pilots and engineers left for Russia in 1997 and stayed will 2001.

The Su-30MKI was to have the following:
*N011M Bars Phased array radar - The radar has a search range of 400 km and a tracking range of 200 km, with 60 km in the rear in the air-to-air mode. Detection range fighter type MIG-29 in area of review of over 300 sq. deg: - on towards course - up to 140 km; - in pursuit of - up to 60 km. Up to 15 air targets can be tracked at once in track while scan mode with 4 of these engaged at once.The N011M can use a number of short range and speed search modes and is capable of identifying the type and number of multiple targets. The Bars radar is compatible with R-77 and R-27 radar guided missiles providing both illumination and data-link guidance as well as the R-73 IR guided missile.

In the air-to-surface mode the radar is capable of detecting ground and naval based moving targets, determining their location and maintaining a track on two surface targets at once. The N011 is capable of detecting the group of tanks target to a maximum range of 40–50 km and a destroyer sized target to a range of 80–120 km. Bars also features a mapping mode using either real beam, doppler beam sharpening or Synthetic aperture radar with a maximum resolution of 10 meters.The Kh-31 anti-radiation missile is also compatible with the radar.

*OLS-30 IRST(Infra Red Search & TracK System- The OLS-30 laser-optical Infra-red search and track includes a day and night FLIR(Forward Looking Infra Red) capability and is used in conjunction with the Pilot's HMS( helmet mounted sighting system). The OLS-30 is a combined IRST/LR device using a cooled, broad waveband sensor. Detection range is up to 90 km, while the laser ranger is effective to 3.5 km. Targets are displayed on the same LCD display as the radar.

*Sura-K HMS & Target Designator

*Saab built Flight Data Recorder & aircraft health monitoring system

* Thales MFDS for the cockpits

* DRDO built Mission Computers

* DRDO/BEL Tarang RWR

* HAL built IFF system, Radio Altimeter and Intercom system.

THe DRDO built systems were actually developed for the MiG-21bis UPG(Bison) and were used for the Su-30MKIs also.

Because of delays in integration of Indian & western origin equipment on the Su-30MKI prototypes( one of them crashed during the Paris Air show in 1999), Russia proposed to supply the first 18 Su-30s in the plain Air Defence variant configuration( K & MK variants) with very limited air to ground capability. These were to be later upgraded to Su-30MKI standards.

The Su-30MKI prototype crash video from the 1999 Paris Air Show


The first eight Su-30MKs(SB-001 to 008) were inducted in the No.24 Sqdn "Hawks" in Pune in a ceremony by then PM, Inder Kumar Gujral. The Hawks further received 10 Su-30Ks( SB009 to SB018) in 1999 (diverted from a cancelled Indonesian Air Force order). The Hawks served as the SU-30 training sqdn , in anticipation of the Su-30MKI induction with more IAF squadrons. These 18 early Su-30s were delivered in the standard Russian three tone blue paint scheme.
Su-30MK SB006 in Indian Flag livery - painted for 2006 Republic Day flypast (SB001, 006 & 008 were painted in this scheme)
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-su30mk.jpg
Su-30MK SB004 - in standard paint scheme

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Su-30K SB010
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-su30k.jpg

The first Su-30MKI batch(SB019 to SB028) was delivered in 2002 and No.20 Sqdn "Lightnings" were re-raised on the Su-30MKI. SB019 to SB050 were direct supply Russian built SU-30MKIs(delivered in kits)
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-su30mki.jpg
HAL built SU-30MKIs started getting delivered from November 2004 onwards (SB101 - SB240).

Meanwhile in 2006, The eighteen original SU-30K/Mks were sold back to o Russia in 2006 after it was found that it was technically, mechanically and economically unfeasable to upgrade them to MKI standards. The sqdn - No. 24, converted to the Su-30MKI.

In 2008, eighter new Su-30MKIs were delivered by Russia.

THe local production of Su-30MKI continues today and the numbers manufactured may be nearing an end as per the license conditions.

The IAF's Su-30MKI Squadrons:
No.24 Squadron "Hawks"
No.20 Squadron "Lightnings"
No.30 Squadron "Rhinos"
No.8 Squadron "Pursoots"
No.31 Squadron "Lions"
No.220 Squadron "Desert Tigers"
No.102 Squadron "Trisonics"
No.106 Squadron "Lynx"
No.2 Squadron 'Winged Arrows"
No.15 Squadron "Flying Lances"
No.221 Squadron "Valiants"

Books on IAF Su-30s (for further reading & Reference):
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-flanker.jpg
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-flanker_0.jpg

The early IAF Su-30 is available as 1/72 & 1/200 scale models from JC Wings & Hogan Wings respectively.
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-flanker1.jpg
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-flanker2.jpg

DISCLAIMER: Before someone says that all of the above is classified information and should not be posted on an open forum, let me make it clear that it is not (as some have pointed out before on PMs or posts for my older posts)!!! This information is available in books and other open sources, provided you know where to look.

Last edited by skanchan95 : 16th December 2019 at 12:34.
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