INDIA IS NEGOTIATING to licence-manufacture the Sukhoi Su-30MK at the Nasik plant of Hindustan Aeronautics, which already produces Mikoyan MiG-29 Floggers.

Indian officials have visited the Irkutsk Su-30MK production plant in Russia recently. The Indian air force is satisfied with the aircraft from a technical viewpoint, although negotiations on the cost have yet to be concluded.

The discussions have been complicated by Russian insistence on immediate payment in hard currency for the technology transfer included in the deal.

An $800 million bank loan for mutual foreign trade is being used for the export of Sukhoi Su-27 fighters and other defence equipment to India, but Moscow says that the money is not available for the Su-30MK deal.

Initial reports suggest that India is interested in acquiring around 20 Su-30MK multi-role fighters - although, if licence production is involved, the country may be looking at acquiring substantial numbers of aircraft.

So far this year, only a deal for ten MiG-29s has been concluded between the two sides. A $250-300 million contract for MiG-21 modernisation remains unsigned.

Source: Flight International