With an eye on China and Pakistan, India is rapidly modernising its military. Given the fact that India is facing a range of threats on both the western and eastern fronts from Pakistan and China, as well as persistent Maoist insurgency and various terror outfits, the country is expanding its capacity to undertake military operations optimally in the multi-domain war arena.
One such front is dominance in the air. Indian Air Force’s Su-30MKI fighters are now being prepared to carry more lethal and state-of-the-art weapons. Media reports suggest that India’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) has started receiving 42 Su-30MKI air dominance fighters modified to carry air-launched BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. This will greatly improve India’s striking power in the air.
While the Su-30 MKI has a range of up to 1,800 kilometers, the BrahMos missile can strike targets nearly 300 kilometers away.
Integration of BrahMos with Su-30 MKI will make the IAF the only Air Force in the world in procession of a supersonic cruise missile system. The powerful missile will enable Delhi to penetrate deep inside Chinese and Pakistani territories to deliver a deadly blow to their vital installations from stand-off ranges.
The IAF describes the Su-30 MKI as its “air dominance fighter” since it can perform a range of missions. The fighter jet has extended range, speed, and firepower, and is highly maneuverable.
The fourth-generation multirole combat fighter aircraft built by Russia’s Sukhoi Design Bureau and licensed to India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, is India Air Force’s backbone. Delhi has already acquired around 200 jets, and eventually plans to acquire 282 of them.
The induction of BrahMos supersonic missile has also raised India’s options in case of a war. The Indo-Russian BrahMos is a lethal weapon and is designed to cut small warships in half. Indian and Russian scientists have modified the cruise missile to strike targets on land.
The engineers at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd are also looking at conducting structural modifications on the Sukhois which will enable them to reduce the mass and weight of the missile, and thus the aircraft would be able to carry up to three of these missiles.