India and Russia have agreed on a streamlined support system following Indian complaints that it is not receiving required spares.

With more than two-thirds of its defence procurement budget spent with Russian firms, India has suffered service problems because of spares unavailability. The problem is exacerbated by the low mean-time between overhaul/failure of Russian equipment.

Russia is guaranteeing, with immediate effect, long-term, uninterrupted spares supply as well as the creation of production facilities for critical items. The deal includes Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighter spares; Russia will supply 50 aircraft while India's Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) will license-manufacture another 140 over 14 years. Russian manufacturers will assist HAL's creation of indigenous support facilities for the Su-30.

Dr Alexander Vaskin, co-ordinator of the Indo-Russian security forum, says aviation spares are a particular problem, adding: "Streamlining procedures for Su-30MKI products is all the more important since more than 300 Russian defence companies are involved in producing components."

India's Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has criticised the delayed upgrade of Mikoyan MiG-21 Fishbeds and Sepecat Jaguars. The CAG says the MiG-21s, due to be finished in 2001, will not be ready until 2004. The Jaguar navigation and attack system upgrade, sanctioned in 1996, has not begun and the CAG does not believe it will be finished until 2006.

Source: Flight International