HAL gives air force first overhauled Sukhoi-30 - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Friday 9 January 2015

HAL gives air force first overhauled Sukhoi-30

HAL eyes global overhaul prospects worth Rs 22,000 crore

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 10th Jan 15

On Friday, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) delivered to the Indian Air Force (IAF) the first Sukhoi-30MKI fighter ever overhauled. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar travelled to HAL’s new overhaul facility in Nashik --- the first of its kind worldwide --- to hand over the overhauled fighter to IAF boss, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha.

With the IAF down to just 34 fighter squadrons against its authorized strength of 45 squadrons, and with negotiations over the Rafale yielding no breakthrough so far, it is critical for the IAF to keep its Su-30MKIs flying.

After flying 1,500 hours or 14 years (whichever is first), a Su-30MKI must be pulled out of the flight line for a comprehensive overhaul.

This involves dismantling and stripping the fighter down to its skeleton, checking every component, repairing or replacing them as required, carrying out more than 600 modifications, and finally rebuilding these into a current standard Su-30MKI. This involves 2478 separate processes, which are monitored on line.

An overhaul equips the fighter to fly for another 1,500 hours/14 years. During its service lifetime of 6,000 hours/25 years, a Su-30MKI would undergo three overhauls. That means the overhaul facility would have to do 816 overhauls just for the IAF’s planned fleet of 272 Su-30MKIs.

“The Su-30 overhaul facility at HAL Nashik is (the) only (one) of its kind in the world and has export prospects since nearly 10 countries have Su-30 fleet (sic),” said the defence ministry (MoD) on Tuesday.

Potential overseas customers, who together fly over 200 Su-30 fighters, include Russia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Algeria, Venezuela, Angola and Uganda. China too operates the Su-30MKK, a variant of the Indian version, but would be unlikely to get them overhauled in India.

HAL’s overhaul facility chief, S Subrahmanyan, told Business Standard in October 2014 that overhauling the Su-30MKI in India cost roughly one-third the price of a brand new fighter. HAL is currently supplying the fighter to the IAF at Rs 358 crore; HAL sources say overhauling a Su-30MKI costs Rs 110 crore.

The market potential for overhauling 200 Su-30s in service overseas is, therefore, worth about Rs 22,000 crore.

HAL is quickly ramping up overhaul capacity to 15 fighters per year. “We have already approached the MoD to step up capacity to 30 fighters per year, which will cater for our requirements into the 2030s”, said Subrahmanyan.

Depending upon overhaul orders from foreign operators, this capacity would be further enhanced.

RK Tyagi, Chairman HAL, said on Friday that the second overhauled Su-30MKI is ready for delivery. “HAL will also act as a single window OEM for supporting Su-30MKI fleet”, he said.

When India first procured the Su-30MKI from Russia, the overhaul schedule was 1,500 hours/10 years. But, when the earliest fighters, which had joined the fleet in 2000, became due for overhaul in 2010, the IAF found they had flown far less than 1,500 hours. The Russian vendor, Sukhoi, revised the time stipulation to 14 years.

Setting up the overhaul facility at Nashik, and overhauling the first Su-30MKI has taken 14 years. This is because the initial contract, signed in 2000 for building 140 fighters in India, did not cater for establishing an overhaul facility --- a mistake, say contract lawyers. 


  1. The concept of 45 squadrons and what constitutes them needs to be looked into. This number is some 40 year old. Now DRDO is developing sub sonic cruise missiles, glide bombs and we have Brahmios.
    The army too has long Ramge rockets in form of Pinaka, Prahaar, plans to induct combat helicopters from US and made in India LCH.

    1. Completely agree. Its sounds more like scare mongering to get foreign goodies

  2. NSR says ---

    Congratulations to HAL for achieving such an important milestone...

    """This is because the initial contract, signed in 2000 for building 140 fighters in India, did not cater for establishing an overhaul facility --- a mistake, say contract lawyers. """"

    A very grave mistake and it must be avoided with every future contract of fighters, helicopters, UAVs, etc

    Now we would like to know how many spare parts are being manufactured in India and what is the content of local and imported components...

    I think India, IAF, and HAL must work in a concerted manner to get close to 100% TOT and MOTs (Manufacturing and Maintenance) for SU-30MKI, Mig-29UPG, Mig-29K, etc so that they would not fall from the sky and will be available at least 80 to 90% of the time...

    Do not chase the mirage of Rafale and instead try to strengthen the present base of SU-30MKI, Mig-29UPG, Mig-29K, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, Hawk, etc

    Use the Rafale money to procure urgently required submarines, helicopters, advanced BVRAAMs, may be some batteries of S-400 which will definitely please Russians, 155/52 guns, tanks, etc...

    India is far superior to Pakistan at this stage but the procurement of Super Sukhois and S-400 may checkmate the China trouble...

  3. the mmrca should be scrapped and instead the iaf should go for more Super sukhoi 30s .

  4. Have contract lawyers this time around allowed for offering this base to operators in other nations? Amazed the Russians would let them do so.....

  5. why so many garlands and floral decoration.. looks like children's day celebration

  6. Anonymous said:

    "The concept of 45 squadrons and what constitutes them needs to be looked into. This number is some 40 year old. Now DRDO is developing sub sonic cruise missiles, glide bombs and we have Brahmios."

    Yeah, this number does need to be looked into. The number needs to increase to maximize the possibility of India prevailing in a two front war.

  7. For too long India has been in the business of reviving the fortunes of sinking foreign aircraft manufacturers. Dump the Rafale and make HAL Nashik the worlds most efficient Sukhoi plant for overhauls and manufacture. ?Bang for Buck' way to go!!

  8. 272... Next... 300...

  9. Rafale deal took seven years to evaluate...we must ask the french to provide us the 128 fighters asap....even if it means 100% french production

    they should give us a better price as their production lines would provide economies of scale

    HAL should instead concentrate on the steLth fighter as china is on the verge of inducting them.

  10. I think the article has an error. It said Russia also may need HAL to overhaul its Su30's. This cannot be correct, Russia would have its own overhaul facilities just like HAL's.


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