India IAF Su 30MKI SB307 2 credit Hans van Herk 640Additional Flankers for the Indian Air Force

On 16 September 2023, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared the first step of acquiring twelve additional Sukhoi Su-30MKI-3 Flanker fighter aircraft and associated equipment for the Bharatiya Vayu Sena (IAF, Indian Air Force).

In total the Indian Air Force ordered 272 Su-30MKI-3 fighters with the first fifty aircraft built in Russia. Before the Su-30MKI-3 model, the IAF operated eighteen "loaned/leased" Su-30K models (serial SB001 - SB018) from Russia. These were all returned via Belarus between September and November 2011.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Nasik manufactured 222 Su-30MKI-3 Flankers. Scramble Magazine assesses that the additional twelve aircraft will serve as a replacement for the lost aircraft (eleven aircraft so far).

India and Russia already started negotitations for additional Su-30s in 2019. At that time the Indian Air Force wanted to fast-track the acquisition of additional fighters. It took until 2023 for the current approval of the DAC which is the first step in the procurement process that can take several months and sometimes years for final approval. Next step will be negotiations with HAL on the budget before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) can give the final approval to free up the budget and sign the contract.

Credit photo: Hans van Herk

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