SU-30 MkI

Little steps…

• 2004 – meet and fight (under albeit very favorable terms for the home team) “vanilla” USAF F-15’s (non-AESA birds) with your new SU-30’s;

COPE India 2004

• 2006 – do it again, but this time against F-16’s;

COPE India 2006

• 2008 - Join up in RED FLAG flying with 4th and 5th gen fighters against adversary air (but never going beak-to-beak with the likes of the Rafaels or Gripens while the F-22 was MIA for RF ’08)…


For the first time, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is deploying its most potent Sukhoi-30MKI fighters in Kashmir. Reflecting its new assertiveness, the IAF wants to whet its war-waging prowess in a troubled sector where India has to defend itself from Pakistan and China.


The introduction of Su-30MKIs – which can carry eight tonnes of armament including nuclear bombs – in Srinagar comes at a time when Pakistan’s air force is acquiring new F-16s from the US and JF-17 ‘Thunder’ jets from China. The IAF’s combat fleet consists of some 60 Su-30MKI aircraft housed at Lohegaon near Pune and Bareilly.


The six Su-30MKI fighters based at Srinagar (home to MiG-21 Bison fighters) will carry out “pervasive missions” in the coming days not only over Kashmir skies but also cover the Ladakh sector, including the rugged mountains of Kargil.

For reference, Islamabad, lies a little over 85 nm from the base at Srinagar (the orange lines demark the outline of the disputed boundaries in the Northern Areas):


  1. claudio

    I used to preach to my guys that if anyone, intel or otherwise ever tells you the Indian AF is “third world”, heavily GCI dependent, the standard stuff, totally disregard it. BS. They are good operators, very smart, learn fast and easy. I wouldn’t put them with the brits or ausies, but purty darn close, better than PRC. Same goes for their other armed forces. Seems to me that the F-15s in 04 didn’t get that message.

  2. Steeljawscribe


    Roger all – there are also tose that say Big AF assented tot he restrictive ROE figuring it would strengthen their case on the Hill to expand the F-22 buy. Part of this lays in the oservation that AESA-equipped F-15Cs were present in Japan for an exercise that had just wrapped up. Additionally, they were not allowed to use the AIM-120 across it’s full enveope

    Looking at the way the SU-30’s were uilized @ RED Flag this year, it would appear the shoe was on the other foot insofar as the Indians were concerned…

  3. claudio

    if the MKIs come back as hoped, watch the learning curve for next year.

    out of the loop so didn’t get the good after report. would have loved to see if they used their ECM pods and how. Oh well, I’ll read about it years down the road. Funny part is my curiosity is getting weaker by the month on all that stuff. still intereting, but others have got the watch now, so learning not tooworry about it anymore.

    would love to get a ride in one of these puppies.

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