The government of Uganda has tapped the Indian defense industry to provide maintenance and technical support for its Sukhoi Su-MK30 jet fighters.
A memorandum of understanding was signed earlier this month between the African nation and Indian state-owned aerospace firm Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which was granted a Sukhoi manufacturing license by Russia.
According to the Indian High Commission, the agreement is the first major defense deal signed with Uganda after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the “10 Principles of India-Africa Engagement” in 2018.
India and Uganda have yet to disclose the financial details of the agreement.
However, the move has sparked debate among military analysts regarding the future of the country’s combat jets since they are regarded as among Uganda’s “most prized” military assets.
Uganda used the Sukhois to bomb several Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) camps last year in DR Congo.
The Sukhoi Su-MK30
Based on the Su-30, the Su-MK30 is a multi-role two-pilot combat fighter aircraft equipped with a fly-by-wire flight control system.
It includes a passive electronically scanned array radar, a laser-optical locator system, and a target designation pod to guide air-to-surface missiles and munitions.
The plane is armed with a 30-millimeter cannon and can launch various air-to-surface missiles, including the Kh-31A/P, Kh-59M, and Nirbhay.
The Su-MK30 is powered by two Al-31FP turbojet engines, providing a maximum speed of Mach 1.9 (2,346 kilometers or 1,457 miles per hour).
The aircraft has a maximum flight range of 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) without refueling.