Many have tried to convince India not to buy Dassault Rafale fighters by extolling the Sukhoi Flanker family’s virtues instead. Indeed, Russia has been strongly lobbying New Delhi for many years to forego buying any Rafales and buy more Su-30MKI Flankers instead. New Delhi has already partnered with Russia to develop the Flanker’s successor – the Sukhoi PAK FA.
But New Delhi should be very careful not to buy any more Sukhoi fighters until the Russian planemaker significantly improves the quality of its fighters and their spareparts. For the Su-30MKIs have a poor readiness rate – just 55-60%, versus the 75% required by the IAF, as DefenseNews reports:
“NEW DELHI — Ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow Dec. 24-25, India’s autonomous auditing agency Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) says the Russian-made Su-30MKIaircraft with the Indian Air Force (IAF) suffer from poor serviceability, which is just around 55 percent to 60 percent against the prescribed norm of 75 percent.
The 218-page CAG report tabled in Indian Parliament Dec. 18 notes that the operational readiness of Su-30MKI was low due to high rate of AOG (Aircraft on Ground), low serviceability and less achievement in flying hours.
An IAF official said the high rate of AOG means that out of 210 Su-30MKI with the IAF, around 115-126 aircraft are grounded for repairs and serviceability, which the officer said affects the combat worthiness.
The Su-30MKI suffers from technical problems in the fly-by-wire systems and radar warning receivers, the IAF official said.”
And what is the main cause of the low readiness rate of the Su-30MKIs? Primarily spare parts, which are made in Russia:
“The poor serviceability is mainly on account of lack of spares, which come from Russia. IAF has lost six Su-30MKI since it received the first batch in 2002.”
Memo to the Indian government: stop buying Russian aircraft. You’re only shooting yourselves in the foot this way.