India announced its plans to double the purchase of Russia’s Su-30MKI fighter jets. If the plans become real, Russia will set a new record selling the largest quality of fourth-generation aircraft to a foreign customer. The deal will considerably improve the reputation of Russia’s renowned jet, although it does have significant competitors from the fifth generation.
India may considerably enlarge its fleet of Russian-made Su-30MKI by 2015 – to 230 planes, news agencies reported with reference to India’s Defense Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony. The official said that India had purchased 98 of such fighter jets from Russia since 1996.
The quantity of warplanes, which Indian Air Force plans to purchase from Russia during the forthcoming years, is equal to the quantity, which the nation has already ordered within the framework of current agreements. In 2010, India will most likely have the fleet of 100 Russian fighters. The deal to purchase 120 jets from Russia will cost India about $12 billion.
Therefore, Su-30MKI may become the most common fourth-generation aircraft that has ever been exported in the world.
India considers acquiring USA’s F/A-18E/F as its frontline fighter, but the nation sees no alternative to Russia’s heavy interceptor jet for the time being. The analogue for Russia’s Sukhoi Su-30 is USA’s F-15 Eagle. The latter exists in three versions: F-15I – for Israel, F-15K – for South Korea and F-15J – for Japan. These planes differ from the point of view of their equipment and capacities.
For example, Japan’s warplanes are optimized for intercepting air targets, whereas F-15I are universal jets, just like F-15E Strike Eagle, on the basis of which they were made.
Russia’s Su-30 range develops similarly. Su-30MKK, designed for South Korea, are long-range interceptors, whereas the jets, which Russia designs for Malaysia , can work with ground targets. The flexibility of the Su-30 platform makes the jet Russia’s basic export warplane.
Many experts believe that the new and expensive designs of fifth-generation aircraft will not oust 4+ and 4++ generations – Russia’s Su-30 and Su-35. The capacity of the fifth-generation aircraft is excessive for many types of battle missions. The fourth-generation aircraft can be much more preferable at this point.
A computer modeling of an air fight between USA’s F-35 and Russia’s Su-30, which was conducted last year in Australia, showed that the state-of-the-art American fighter took advantage of the Russian jet in four of ten cases. US officials originally said that their plane would prove to be entirely predominant.