India plans not only to modernize and expand its fleet of Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets but also to purchase 21 MiG-29 fighter jets from Russia. This was written by The Times of India with reference to the head of the air force of the country Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria. Delhi also intends to acquire 12 Su-30MKI to replace those that have broken down in 20 years of operation, but this is a more distant cooperation project, unlike the first two.
Two managers of Russian aviation enterprises confirmed this information to Vedomosti. They added that the value of these transactions is estimated at more than 2.5 billion. Dollars.
According to insiders, the parties are “in an advanced stage of discussion on both projects” and expect that the contracts will be signed in the near future.
According to The Times of India, during all the cooperation India purchased from Russia 272 Su-30MKI, most of them were delivered to the country in the form of kits, and collected by the Indian aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) in the Indian aviation company Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) in Naike. This number was enough for the Indian Air Force to equip 13 combat squadrons. The 12 fighter jets that Delhi intends to acquire from Moscow will also be assembled by HAL. The Su-30MKI program is one of the most successful examples in the history of military-technical cooperation between the two countries. The Su-30MKI has been the Indian Air Force’s main combat vehicle for many years.
As for the MiG-29, the first such vehicles were delivered to India under contract in 1987-1990. In 1994, the country acquired eight more MiG-29s and two MiG-29UB. India’s problem is that of the 11 squadrons of fighters of the older MiG-21s, only one will remain in service by 2022, as their flight resource is almost completely exhausted. Therefore, it was decided to buy a MiG-29 instead of them, because this machine is well known to pilots.
However, this is not all possible deals of India with the Russian aviation industry. Local media also wrote about a significant increase in the chances of Russian multirole Su-35 fighter jets to win the tender, which involves the purchase of 114 fighters for the Indian Air Force. Part of this tender will remain for the French Rafale (contracted so far 36 units with deliveries of the first in 2020), but a significant share can go to “Dry”.
According to Indian media, the Russian manufacturer made an offer to localize the production of Su-35 fighter jets in India, linking a potential contract with the modernization of the Su-30MKI fleet. Such a two-phase contract would allow Delhi to save significantly, which is very important, as the Su-35 is quite expensive to maintain.
It is not yet known how the U.S. authorities will react to potential transactions. However, given that the U.S. administration has previously passed the CAATSA law, which allows imposing sanctions not only against Russian enterprises of the MIC but also against countries buying their products, it can be assumed that negative comments will soon follow.
Earlier, Washington tried to dissuade India from buying Russian S-400 Triumph missile defense systems under a $5.4 billion agreement already signed. The American authorities used the classic method of stick and carrot, on the one hand, threatening Delhi with restrictions and curtailing military-technical cooperation, on the other, promising to sell instead of the missile defense system own fifth-generation F-35 fighters.
The U.S. administration has pursued a similar policy with regard to Turkey, also threatening to abandon the contract for the supply of fighter jets if Ankara does not refuse the deal to buy the S-400.
Russian military expert Ivan Konovalov believes that Washington will not abandon attempts to oust Russia in the Indian market, but given that Delhi is trying to diversify its supplies as much as possible, they are unlikely to succeed. Moreover, in terms of price-quality ratio, Russian equipment has almost no competitors.
“The situation in the Indian arms market is extremely difficult. The United States has long tried to get Russia out of there to feel more free in the area, but so far it has not been able to do so. India has a very diversified policy in its own arms market and allows various actors to enter. Russia has a good segment on it, our weapons according to various estimates account for 25 to 35% of the Indian market. But the French, Israelis, and Americans are quite free to operate there.
Knowing the expansionist policy of the United States in any position, it is clear that the Americans will continue to work to expand their presence in the Indian market. They had major successes in helicopter technology and in patrol aircraft, where we gave them away. But that was a long time ago. Now the Americans have tried to use their sanction law CAATSA in competition.
– I would have noted that just a year ago, and at the beginning of this year they acted much more aggressively. Now they have realized that this law does not work. India and Russia can bypass the dollar, which is practically the only opportunity for the United States to influence the passage of such deals.
At first, they succeeded, but it was quickly terminated in the military-technical cooperation of Russia with India, and with China, and with other countries that can afford large purchases. The U.S. will continue to try to use CAATSA and will apply other measures.
But specifically about the Indian arms market, this is an old story with an attempt by Americans to expand their presence. It is less related to the sanctions that have hit our country since 2014. It’s just that the United States and those companies that are interested in promoting their interests in the Indian arms market are taking advantage of this situation. But it’s not happening too actively.
What are the chances of these deals with India?
“India has a huge fleet. And the Su-30 makes up the lion’s share of the new vehicles of the Indian combat fleet. We supplied India with 272 units – 50 ready-made machines and 222 kits, which are assembled directly in India. Not to mention the old Soviet planes, which periodically fall because they have worked their resource.
So for the Indian side, the purchase of the Su-30 is perfectly logical. They cannot afford to purchase French Rafale in the amount that the tender envisaged. There was not without corruption schemes, the French rather strangely and unconvincingly won in this tender. So, in the end, it was decided to buy much fewer aircraft. And this number can not change the picture of the combat fleet of the Indian Air Force, because it is very large and is based mostly on Soviet and Russian aircraft.
Therefore, Russian fighter jets are, on the one hand, an absolutely logical choice, and on the other hand, a message for the Americans, which clearly states: “Do not interfere in our policy and our system of military-technical cooperation.”
So the U.S. doesn’t have leverage over India?
-Of course, there is a law CAATSA, which can be applied through the banking system, but mutual settlements in national currencies negate the possibility of sanctions measures. In theory, The Americans could offer India their equipment at a price lower than the Russian. But in practice they can not do it, because that is the beauty of our technology – by the criterion of price-quality, it surpasses any other weaponry, which is produced by the most modern defense and industrial complexes of the world – French, British, German, American and so on.
If the Americans are ready to reduce the prices of their equipment to the Russian, we will see what they will succeed. For the U.S. military-industrial complex, this will be a devastating blow. But all this is, of course, a theory. In practice, this will not happen. First of all, because the Pentagon itself is ready to buy American equipment at inflated prices.
It’s not always the best, but the lobbying system is set up in such a way that that’s how American defense works. Their people are sitting in Congress, they are pushing through the right solutions and then in the military budget, we see huge sums to buy completely unnecessary equipment. And if domestic prices are so huge, then external prices, though for India, at least for any other country, certainly will not become less