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Western Sanctions on Russia Hamper India’s Su-30MKI Upgrades: Report

The Indian Air Force has postponed a proposed upgrade of 85 Su-30MKI multirole fighters, fearing the sanctions against Russia might delay military spare parts supply, Shepherd Media revealed, citing sources.

India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation were to have jointly carried out the upgrades, including “replacing the fighter’s digital multimode dual-frequency NIIP N011M Bars radar with an AESA one,” the outlet wrote.

A more powerful engine than the present Saturn AL-31 turbofan — with a maximum thrust of 123 Kilonewtons — is also reportedly part of the upgrades. Russia reportedly offered its AL-41F1S turbofan engine for the upgrade, which can generate a maximum thrust of 142.2 Kilonewtons.

Impact on Negotiations to Buy 12 Su-30MKIs

The Indian government is also demanding more indigenous content in the 12 MKIs it has been negotiating to buy from Russia, prolonging the discussions.

According to the outlet, India is coping well with the spare parts delay from Russia, as it had stocked up on them following military skirmishes with Pakistan and the border conflict with China.

However, the outlet added that in the “near future” a scarcity of Russian spare parts is possible, necessitating the manufacturing of those parts at home. 

The Western sanctions on the Russian arms industry are having an impact on the country’s military in the Ukraine war, according to the US. A US defense official recently said that Moscow is having difficulty replacing its guided missiles because of an embargo on electronic components.

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