India is preparing to purchase an additional 12 Su 30mki. In early 2019 Lockheed Martin offered India a plan for the F-21 fighter, the new F-21 fighter, which is actually an upgraded version of the Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter, with the difference that it has updated its edict and radar systems, and improved its range and weapons. With India planning to spend $15bn on more than 100 fighter jets, Lockheed Martin hopes to pocket the order.
But a recent decision by India may have disappointed Lockheed Martin, who has decided to equip the Indian Air Force with Russian warplanes and is expected to continue to bring in Russia’s especially the legendary Su 30MKI fighter jets . Specifically, India is preparing to purchase an additional 12 Su-30MKIs, plus 21 MiG-29UPG. At the same time, India plans to ask Russia to help upgrade 59 MiG models.
India’s cost of the order will be concentrated on Sukhoi fighter jets, with 12 Su 30mki fighters costing as much as $1.5 billion and each Su 30mki costing more than $100 million. By contrast, the MiG-29 is cheaper, and India will cost $991 million to buy and upgrade the original model. In exchange, Russia allowed Hindustan Airlines to participate in the aircraft supply program.
The U.S. has been unhappy with India’s plans to buy Russian weapons, and in the near future, and recently India sent a team of 100 people to learn how to operate the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, which Russia is expected to supply to India soon. In this regard, the United States also expressed opposition. India, however, has not changed its plans.
Some Russian experts have commented that Russia’s traditional fighter aircraft dominate the Indian market. India is familiar with Russia’s Sukhoi and MiG models, the purchase of Russian fighter aircraft is the most direct choice. If India chooses the U.S. F-21, it will need to re-learn to use and build a logistics supply system. Moreover, the F-21 fighter jet investment is not necessarily cheap, the United States has always sold weapons at high prices, for India, the results of this expenditure may not be ideal.
What’s more? India is now stepping up its LCA Tejas fighter service. Not long ago, India announced Rs 48,000 Crore rupees investment in 83 HAL LCA Tejas MK1A fighter jets, meaning that the fighter, which has been in development for decades, has finally had a chance to enter service on a large scale. Although the performance of the LCA fighter is in doubt compared to the F-21 or Su 30mki, Tejas performance is far better than the China-Pak JF-17 fighter, after all tejas is a light combat aircraft you cant compare with MWF.
India believes it is a self-made fighter and insists on pushing it to the Indian Air Force. In this case, India also believes that the introduction of additional U.S. aircraft will further compress the LCA fighter’s survival space. India, therefore, intends to maintain the existing fighter system in order to provide opportunities for the development of LCA fighter aircraft.