India’s Air Force is planning to increase the number of Su-30MKI fighters armed with BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to 65, the Times of India newspaper reported with reference to the Air Force command.
As Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari said, there are plans to increase the number of Su-30MKI fighters being upgraded to carry BrahMos missiles from the originally planned 40 by another 20-25. They will be modernized at Indian enterprises.
According to him, the supplementary Su-30MKI planes will get a new-generation BrahMos missile with a range of 450 km (280 mi). As of today, the Indian Air Force has received 35 Su-30MKI fighters with the 290-km range BrahMos from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Corporation.
The Indian Air Force intends to start upgrading all 272 Su-30MKI planes in service in five years. At the first stage, 84 fighters will be modernized to get the latest Indian-designed missiles, including Rudram ones intended to destroy enemy air defense systems and command posts, and new domestic on-board systems, Chaudhari said.
The BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile produced by the Russia-India Joint Venture BrahMos Aerospace. The missile has been jointly developed by Russia’s Research and Production Association of Machine-Building (NPO Mashinostroeniya) and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization. The first test launch of the BrahMos missile took place in 2001. Its different versions are operational with India’s Navy, Air Force and Army. Work is currently in progress in India to prepare the new-generation BrahMos missile with a range of 800 km (497 mi), the BrahMos-NG, for flight tests.