Magnificent seven: Top-notch Russian aircraft that may land in India’s shopping cart soon
Dozens of countries are showing off their best aviation technologies at the Aero India 2019 show which takes place in Bangalore. Russia’s exhibition is one of the largest at the event. Moscow enjoys lasting military-industrial ties with New Delhi and it has never ceased to compete for the Indian market.
India is a potential buyer of the Sukhoi Su-35, a top Russian air-superiority fighter jet. It features some fifth-generation tech and stands out due to high maneuverability and advanced avionics. The Su-35 is armed with an internal 30mm cannon and can be fitted with a wide range of unguided and guided munitions.
This jet was internationally unveiled at Aero India show back in 2007. Marketed as a 4++ generation jet, it is a further development of the MiG-29M/M2 fighter. The twin-engine plane is lighter than the Su-35 family and is better suited for dogfights as well as engaging ground targets.
An advanced training aircraft, the Yak-130 is able to prepare pilots for flying an array of 4++ generation fighter jets as well as the fifth-generation Sukhoi Su-57. The two-seat plane can also perform light-attack and reconnaissance duties, carrying a combat load of up to 3,000 kg.
The Su-30MKI was developed by Sukhoi and assembled under license by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). This is an export version of the original Su-30 all-weather, long-range fighter. The jet is expected to form the mainstay of the IAF’s fighter fleet to 2020 and beyond. The aircraft also serves as a platform for Russian-Indian BrahMos hypersonic missile which India presented at the air show.
On the opposite side of takeoff weight allowances is the transport colossus Il-476, an upgraded version of the time-tested Il-76 four-engine cargo plane. The strategic airlifter, which made her maiden flight in 2012, features a new glass cockpit, upgraded avionics, new wing and, most importantly, fuel-efficient PS-90A-76 engines.
The MС-21 made her maiden flight in May 2017, joining the race for the next-generation narrow-body airliner. It seeks to compete with medium-haul jets such as the Boeing 737 MAX, Airbus A320neo and Chinese-made Comac C919. The MC-21 features a composite wing-design, which improves fuel efficiency. Moscow is ready to consider local production of MS-21s in India, according to Russian media.
The light, twin-engine Russian utility helicopter has been on the order list for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army for several years now. The Ka-226 features an interchangeable mission pod, allowing the use of various accommodation or equipment configurations.
The deal signed with Russia to acquire the rotorcraft is for a joint venture. Helicopter fuselage, rotor blades, radio equipment and landing gear are produced by local manufacturers as part of ‘Make in India’ program.
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