India ‘forged’ 300 Russian Su-30s and a thousand T-90 tanks

Detailed joint arms production with Russia is progressing at a solid pace in India, as stated by Denis Alipov, the Russian Federation’s Ambassador to India. This statement was in response to reports suggesting a shift in India’s defense procurement away from Russia. “These assertions misrepresent the reality,” affirmed Alipov. 

Russia was quietly killing T-90 tanks until India came along
Photo credit: Telegram

According to Alipov, these claims are misguided. India aims to build up its own defense industrial base, focusing on the “Make in India” and “Self-Reliant India” initiatives. These programs are designed to maximize internal production and to harness the latest technologies, he explained to TASS. 

Alipov added that this initiative defines India’s approach towards broadening alliances with international collaborators. Among them, Russia is clearly a dominant partner. 

Dozen of the 'most modern in history' Su-30s were sold to India
Photo credit: Reddit

Almost 1,000 T-90 tanks and 300 Su-30MKI aircraft have been constructed in India under licenses from Russia, Alipov highlighted. Brahmos missile systems are also produced under license, and the Indo-Russian Rifles partnership is focused on manufacturing AK-203 assault rifles. 

“Russia controls at least 50% of the domestic armament market. Russia was a trailblazer in localized manufacturing and military tech transfers that comply with India’s modern needs. We’ve successfully implemented and honed strategies that Western nations are only beginning to consider. Unlike some Western countries, we don’t saddle our Indian partners with political terms,” the Russian diplomat relayed. 

Russian sanctions are viewed as illicit by India, according to Alipov. He also revealed that many Indian companies and banks are significantly interconnected with the predominantly Western-controlled Bretton Woods financial system, chiefly involving transactions in US dollars. 

Russia will unveil the export Sukhoi Su-57E fighter in India - Su-35 fighter jet
Photo credit: Rosoboronexport

Alipov revealed that occasionally, partners may consider reducing dialogue with Russian corporations or even opt out entirely. However, India’s entrepreneurial spirit compensates for this as for everyone business stepping back, two more are ready to step in, unaffected by the anti-Russian sanctions. 

Alipov emphasized, somewhat paradoxically, that the ‘shock therapy’ brought on by the ongoing geopolitical shift has invigorated potential for Russian-Indian collaborations. 

“We aspire to a greater consolidation of our national systems in financial, banking, scientific, and technological domains of cooperation. Past instances have demonstrated that Western models, targeted towards a select group of countries, cannot be deemed reliable. It’s time for Russia and India to globalize their domestic platforms. The synergy of these platforms promises to strengthen our relationship,” Alipov concluded. 

India 'forged' 300 Russian Su-30s and a thousand T-90 tanks
Photo credit: TASS

In a recent development, Dmitry Shugaev, the Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation of Russia, indicated that negotiations are underway between Russia and India to increase the licensed production of Su-30MKI fighters by 50 units.

T-90M and T-90 Bhishma differences

With a redesigned turret, the T-90M boasts a modular armor system and state-of-the-art Relikt explosive reactive armor [ERA]. This advanced protection system defends against anti-tank-guided missiles and other projectiles. It’s also armed with a more potent 2A46M 125mm smoothbore gun, capable of launching diverse ammunition types, including sophisticated anti-tank guided missiles. The fire control system of the T-90M has been upgraded, an addition that greatly complements its new automatic target tracker, Kalina. These changes significantly increase both accuracy and firing speed. 

Ukraine claims Russia acquires 770 upgraded T-62s and T-90Ms
Photo credit: UVZ

The Indian Army’s tank of choice, the T-90 Bhishma, is a specialized version of the T-90S, the foreign-trade model of the original T-90 tank. To meet the unique demands of the Indian Army, the Bhishma has an upgraded, superior engine for enhanced performance in hot and high-altitude environments. Additionally, a thermal imaging sight optimizes night-fighting capabilities. 

The T-90 Bhishma’s 125mm smoothbore gun is similar to the T-90M’s weaponry, but it relies on the older Kontakt-5 ERA for protection. In comparison, the Relikt ERA on the T-90M offers superior effectiveness. Some of the advanced fire control and targeting systems that the T-90M possesses are missing in the Bhishma, potentially limiting its efficacy in certain battle scenarios.

Su-30 and Su-30MKI differences

The Su-30 initially began as a fighter designed for long-distance air dominance and deep strike missions. Its impressive range of features includes a phased array radar, a helmet-mounted sight, and the capacity to carry a diverse range of both air-to-air and air-to-surface weaponry. The Russian Air Force is a significant user of the Su-30, and its use is widespread across various other nations. 

In contrast, the Su-30MKI is customized for the Indian Air Force. Its moniker, ‘MKI’, translates to ‘Modernizirovannyi Kommercheskiy Indiski’ or ‘Modernized Commercial Indian’. This version provides several important enhancements over the foundational model of the Su-30. 

The Su-30MKI boasts an intriguing mix of French and Israeli avionics, including an avant-garde glass cockpit and state-of-the-art navigation systems. A unique feature differentiating it is the thrust vectoring control [TVC] system. This system imparts superior maneuverability to the Su-30MKI, giving it a considerable edge over the base Su-30 model. 

Indian Su-30MKI successfully launched stealthy BrahMos ramjet ALCM
Photo credit: Twitter

A distinguishing factor between the two is the Su-30MKI’s competence in handling the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile – a capability the Su-30 lacks. The BrahMos missile, a product of the combined technological superiority of India and Russia, is among the fastest cruise missiles worldwide, significantly enhancing the Su-30MKI’s striking capabilities.


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