Alexander Velovich/MOSCOW Douglas Barrie/LONDON

The Indian air force's second batch of Sukhoi Su-30 two-seat multi-role fighters has been delayed by up to 12 months because of difficulties encountered in finalising the aircraft's avionics configuration.

Alexei Fedorov, former general director of AVPK Sukhoi, says that delivery of the "intermediate configuration" Su-30MKI is being delayed because of problems with the finalisation of the avionics specification by the customer.

A second batch of Su-30s was scheduled to be delivered in September, but this has been postponed until the third quarter of 1999 at the earliest.

Fedorov, who remains chairman of Su-30 manufacturer Irkutsk IAPO, says that the Indian air force wants several Western and Indian-manufactured systems to be integrated into the Su-30MKI. Details of suppliers and final specifications of these systems and their interfaces have yet to be passed to the manufacturer.

France's Sextant Avionique is offering a glass cockpit configuration for the Su-30MKI, while the UK's GEC-Marconi Avionics is also understood to be bidding for work on the Indian aircraft.

The delivery delays may result in Sukhoi and the air force dropping the interim configuration and moving from the basic Su-30, eight of which have already been delivered, to the full Su-30MKI design.

Fedorov says that good progress with the flight tests of the canard-equipped Su-30MKI aerodynamic prototype, coupled with the delay, may see the original second phase of the contract dropped.

This covered the delivery to the air forceof an interim standard aircraft planned for this year, with the standard airframe and a modified weapons control system.

Instead, a modified weapons control system and other avionics may be integrated directly into the canard/thrust-vectoring airframe of the final batch. Initially, the contract called for upgrading the first and second batches to the final configuration after development and testing is complete.

Source: Flight International