HAL accelerates Su-30 production
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 16
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has accelerated the production of indigenously assembled Su-30 multi-role aircraft for the IAF. This will result in the Air Force getting more aircraft every year, while cutting down the time to produce the entire Su-30 fleet by three years.
“We are increasing our production from eight aircraft per annum to 13 aircraft,” Managing Director of HAL, Mr K.P. Puri, said. “The Su-30 production, which was earlier scheduled to finish by 2017-18 will now be over by 2014-15,” he added.
He said the Defence Minister had accorded his approval for the accelerated production. The Su-30 are being produced at HAL's Nasik complex, which is the largest production unit among its 16 factories across the country.
The Su-30 entered service with the IAF in 1997, with 50-odd aircraft being procured directly from Russia and another about 150 aircraft to be built in India by HAL under licence.
At present, the IAF is operating three Su-30 squadrons -- the 20th, 24th and 30th squadrons. It would be the mainstay of the IAF in the
HAL had commenced the indigenous production of the Su-30 in 2004. The first two indigenous aircraft (MKI version) took to the skies in October, 2004, for flight tests and these were handed over to the IAF in March, 2005. The indigenous content in the Su-30 at present is just about 15 per cent and proposed to be increased progressively up to 45 per cent.
Mr Puri said a project to carry out "block-wise" improvement of the Su-30 was also on the cards. Besides HAL, the Defence Research and Development Orgaisation and Russian firms would be involved in the project. The first meeting in this regard was held on January 6.
The improvement programme involving aircraft produced in different blocks will result in aircraft having the same configuration and capabilities.
The first 50 aircraft had some deficiencies that were to be taken care of later.
HAL would also complete the upgradation of the MiG-21 to the Bison configuration this year. So far 94 MiG-21 have been upgraded and work on the remaining 29 aircraft is in progress.
As far as the MiG-27 upgrade programme is concerned, Mr Puri said the prototypes had already been certified and the first batch of 12 upgraded MiG-27s would be handed over to the IAF this year.
Unlike other upgrade programmes, the MiG-27 upgrade is totally indigenous.
The upgraded MiG-27 have a totally new cockpit, mission control computer and advanced avionics, thereby reducing the pilot's work load significantly.