Russia is to put up for sale a batch of 18 Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter aircraft, rejected by India on concerns about their engines and returned to Russia in 2003, a defense official said on Wednesday.
“The 18 Su-30s previously used by India and then returned, are in an aviation repair plant in Belarus and are on sale to potential buyers,” said Alexander Fomin, deputy director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation. He added that the aircraft could be modernized before being sold on.
The Su-30MKI is India’s lead fighter aircraft, and around 140 have been produced under license by HAL Aeronautics in India. The Indian Air Force is expected to buy a total of around 280 during the next decade.
Development of the Su-30 began in the 1980s for the Soviet Armed Forces, based on the Su-27UB conversion trainer.
The first batch of 18 Su-30s delivered to India were Su-30MK and Su-30K standard, and were built to a lower specification than the later Su-30MKI. This meant that they did not have thrust-vectoring engine nozzles or canard foreplanes, enabling extra maneuverability.
Su-30MKI (Flanker-H) multirole fighter