Aug 4, 2014
Russia to modify engines of India Su-30MKI
The move comes after the IAF faced an unusually high number of mid-air engine failures over the past two years (January 2102 onwards) and asked the Russians to rectify the problem in the fighter jet. The IAF has a fleet of 200 Sukhoi aircraft and another 72 are on their way from Moscow.
The modification will be carried out on 400 engines of the twin-engine aircraft, besides installation of some spares for emergencies. The Russians will install modified engines on the next lot of 72 jets, sources say.
The modified engines will first be tested on the aircraft, before being fitted to the entire fleet. The refit will be carried out in batches over the next 18-24 months.
The Russians have assured India that the modifications will eliminate the problem of mid-air engine failure.
Some of the engines — the AL-31FP — produced by NPO Saturn of Russia have been behaving inconsistently over the past two years. Since the engines powering the jet are still being produced, there is a scope for modification.
The IAF had flagged the Russians after studying each failure in detail between 2012 and 2013. The matter was taken up at a meeting between the two nations in February and later in June.
The instances of single-engine Su-30MKI landings were very high during the period. This was lowering the operational ability of the fleet, besides raising questions about war readiness.
While the aircraft is based at Bathinda, Halwara, Sirsa, Bareilly, Jodhpur and Bhuj in the North and West, its two squadrons are based at Tezpur and Chabua in the East.
Another squadron is based in South to augment the Indian Navy’s fleet of MiG29-K and Sea Harriers aboard aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and INS Viraat, respectively.