India and Russia on Friday signed two long-term support agreements for the Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft fleet, which is the mainstay of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Pacts were also signed for maintenance and life-cycle support for other Russian-origin platforms, such as Mi-17 helicopters, MiG-29K aircraft, INS Vikramaditya and T-90 tanks.
The agreements were signed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) with United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporation. The pacts provides for an upgraded schedule for delivery of spares from Russia for these jets, local manufacturing of parts and a proposed logistics hub for the fighter jets in Bengaluru by HAL.
“With regard to maintenance and life-cycle support, it is our endeavour that most of the components and spare parts required for maintaining the platforms, which have been procured from Russian companies, are manufactured by Indian companies through technology transfer or through joint ventures with Russian companies, so that the serviceability of the platforms is improved and we do not lose critical time in repairing and maintaining equipment,” said Defence Minister Arun Jaitley.
The Sukhoi Su-30MKI was designed and developed by Russia’s Irkut Corporation, specifically for India. The licensed production of the aircraft takes place at HAL’s facility in Nashik, Maharashtra.“We must take advantage of this opportunity to finalise some of the agreements or tie-ups for long-term supply agreements and manufacturing of spare parts/components in India. It is a unique opportunity where both Indian and Russian industries are present on a single forum in such a large number,” said Jaitley.
The objective of having long-term supply agreements between the Russian OEMs and Indian Armed Forces or platform manufacturers is to ensure licensed production and to firm up modalities for Indian companies to manufacture some of the spare parts and components under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. This will be done through technology transfer or joint ventures between India and Russian companies.