Jan 12, 2015
HAL hands back first overhauled Su-30MKI to Indian Air Force
The overhauled Su-30MKI is now capable of operating for another 14 years or 1,500 hours of flying time.
A second overhauled Su-30MKI was also ready for delivery to the IAF. The company also announced its intent of imminently increasing its capacity to overhaul 15 Su-30MKIs annually and of doubling this number by 2030.
Each Su-30MKI undergoes three overhauls during its 25-year operational life or 6,000 hours of flying time.
The IAF acquired 50 Su-30K variants in the late 1990s, and thereafter replaced them with the more advanced Su-30MKI export version through direct imports and licensed production by HAL. By around 2020 the IAF aims to operate 272 Su-30MKIs, making it India's single largest fighter type.
With the IAF reduced to just 34 fighter squadrons from its sanctioned strength of 42, the procurement of 126 Dassault Rafales in limbo, and older Russian platforms such as the MiG-21 retiring shortly, the number of Su-30MKIs in IAF service is likely to increase significantly.
However, the Su-30MKI's serviceability rate of around 50% - among the lowest of the IAF's fighters - poses serious operational problems, and for which the air force is entirely dependent on HAL to improve.
Official sources said of the 193 Su-30MKIs in service today, only around 106 were operationally available. The remaining 87 were in various stages of repair, overhaul or fitment by HAL - and to a limited degree by the IAF.