India signs up for Russian missiles to arm Sukhoi jets

R-27 is a guided air-to-air missile for arming 4th-gen combat planes like MiG-29 & Su-30

New Delhi: India has signed a 1,500-rupee ($220-million) deal with Russia to arm its fleet of Sukhoi Su-30MKI fleet with the R-27 air-to-air missiles that provide a medium-range stand-off capability to the air force.

The missiles, with an extended range, would add to the capabilities of the Su-30 aircraft in the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet to take on enemy aircraft in an aerial dogfight, news agency ANI reported today, without stating from where it got the information on the said contract.

India’s Sukhoi and MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft had engaged Pakistan’s F-16 in a battle over their airspace along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir in late February after the Indian Air Force bombed suspected terrorist camps in Balakot deep inside Pakistani territory following a terror attack on an Indian security forces convoy in Pulwama earlier that month.

The missile purchase was done to maintain the War Wastage Reserve (WWR), which is the minimum prescribed quantity for a specified period for which the Indian armed forces need to maintain supply of its arms and ammunition to fight a war till stocks are replenished.

A MiG-29 firing the R-27 missile in an undated photo. Courtesy: Air Force Technology

The R-27 guided missiles are designed to engage aircraft and helicopters of all types, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles, day or night, in adverse weather conditions, against the earth and sea background, when the enemy employs countermeasures, counter fire or evasive maneuvers, according to the website of Russia’s arms export agency Rosoboronexport.

Since the Narendra Modi government returned to power in May, India has signed up for buying Spice-2000 and Strum Ataka Anti-Tank Guided Missile to arm its fighter jets and attack helicopters. These purchases are part of the Modi government’s $250-billion spending plans for modernising the 1.4-million armed forces of India over a 10-year period ending 2025.

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