Just a few days ago, reports leaked to the network that the Indian Ministry of Defense was again insistently asking the government to purchase 33 Russian-made fighters. The largest Indian agency ANI published this information a few days ago, with reference to an insider of the country’s military department. Among the wishes of the military are the criticized MiG-29 and Su-30MKI, which has already become dear to India. He was very well mastered by the local HAL corporation. In March of this year, the Indian flagship aircraft production assembled the last Su-30MKI, closing a contract that lasted almost a quarter century. Despite major successes in the localization of production, most of the machine kit of the future fighter still comes from Russia.
Su-30 was also subjected to critical attacks by the press, especially in connection with the contract for the French Rafal, as part of the M-MRCA program. Such materials became a reflection not only of the fierce competition of aircraft giants in the promising Indian market, but also of the “struggle without rules” of various clans in a motley Indian politics. Shortly after the wave of information against Sushki, the deal with Dassault Rafale was criticized exactly the same. At first, the military was outraged at the price for which they could buy at least a couple of proven Su-30MKIs. Then a corruption scandal erupted. For him, in September 2019, even the former French President Francois Hollande had to make excuses.
These are the features of the local market, with incendiary calls, dusting his head with ashes and other exotic dances. In fact, the French and Russians have long been neighbors in the Indian airspace. The same Dassault concern delivered to India fifty aircraft Dassault Mirage 2000, starting in 1985. And they interacted quite well with the MiGs and Su during the Kargil war. Training fights between Sushki and Rafaly are also not uncommon. As part of the Garuda exercises, they have been encountered for many years. At the same time, Indian and French pilots repeatedly changed fighter jets, and after the exercises spoke very highly of both aircraft.
The first meeting of Rafaley and Su took place on the basis of the VA-125 in the city of Istres, near Marseille. It happened in June 2010. The largest aviation games were held on the southern coast of France, in which more than sixty different variants of aerial combat were simulated: from “dog fights” two to two, to the defense of the air base and tanker aircraft. The main striking force of the French Air Force was the Mirage 2000-5F, the most recent modification of the main fighter of the French Air Force in those years. The latest “Rafali” were then used on supporting roles and did not take part in the main fights, but they were actively engaged in technical intelligence.
Another side of the battle were the F-16 “Block52” of the Singapore Air Force. This part was especially interesting to the Indians. Such cars were bought the day before by the Ministry of Defense of Pakistan in the USA. The results of the exercises were classified, but many different responses leaked to the press.
French reporters did not spare the kind words addressed to the Russian machine (almost all the fighters engaged in the maneuvers were of Russian assembly). In a large article on the results, the main French aerospace news website Air & Cosmos devoted a whole U-turn to the Russian fighter, with the characteristic name “Power!”
” All participants were amazed at the skills of Indian pilots, the operation of the powerful B01 H011 radar with a range of 100 nautical miles and AL-31FP engines (13 tons) with a controlled thrust vector (13 tons). The wide range of air defense weapons of these aircraft did not go unnoticed. : Russian R-77, similar in class to American medium-range guided missiles AIM-120 Amraam; R-27 with infrared guidance; R-73 – the most modern Russian development of short-range action for conducting close combat. Each Su-30 MKI can carry up to fourteen missiles! ”
Summarizing the outcome of these fights, French expert Bernard Bombo concludes:
“Although the primary objective of the exercises was to develop team actions, air combat training was also conducted within their framework. As expected, the Sukhoi’s advantage was their power and maneuverability, although Indian pilots did not resort to using vector thrust.”
Rafali was already used against the Su-30, actively exploring with the equipment the capabilities of one of the best Russian aircraft. And in the French press, not a single author allowed himself to criticize Sushka, which obviously made a very strong impression on the specialists. On the contrary, they evaluated their latest and most promising aircraft quite harshly, relying only on the skill of fine French pilots. Something that reminds, right?
Rafal’s first real training battle with the Su-30MKI took place as part of the 2014 Garuda games. The results were again classified and even the press remained silent that time. “Golden Arrows” – Indian pilots on the Su-30MKI from the 8th squadron Eight Pursuits and the 24th squadron Hawks were extremely pleased with themselves, while praising Rafal.
Shortly before, Dassault Rafale won the first tender within the M-MRCA. His main opponent was not the Su-30MKI, but the MiG-35. And all the talk that Rafal preferred “Drying” is nothing but the most banal speculation. Dassault Rafale replaces Mirages and MiGs and as a multi-purpose aircraft. The matter of gaining air supremacy, or launching Bramos missiles in the Indian Air Force is still for the Su-30MKI, in the further modernization of which the Indians continue to invest very large sums.
Fortunately, the possibilities for updating Drying are still great. The fact that these planes are recognized for various tasks also among the Indian military and even newspaper people. Although they do not cease to use the “Franco-Russian” confrontation for waging inter-party struggle. Aircraft complement each other well, making the Indian Air Force one of the strongest not only in Asia, but also in the world.
The last rendezvous of Rafaley and Su-30MKI occurred in June last year. It looked like a meeting of good friends, when the pilots posed a lot for the press, took great pictures and talked about friendship. The training part of the battles again remained a secret. A few weeks after the end of Garuda 2019, for the first time, a message came that the Indians again showed great interest in continuing to work with the machines from Sukhoi, and at the same time buying the upgraded MiG-29. And I’m afraid this is not the last time they have such a mood change. The Americans are already pushing their elbows in the market and the shaft of revelatory articles about Russian and French cars will only grow. We will talk about the iconic meetings of Indian pilots with the British at the Eurofighter EF2000 Typhoon and the American intervention in the struggle for the Indian market in the next article.