India’s plans to equip its Russian SU-30MKI and indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas with long range Meteor beyond visual range missiles may get hit. Its European manufacturers have informed the government that they would not integrate their weapon on any Israeli or Russian platform.
The Air Force has plans of equipping the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) with the Meteor missiles to get an edge over its Chinese and Pakistani adversaries but Israeli firms have been chosen for supplying the radar and electronic warfare for the plane.
The issue can also have an impact on the Air Force’s plans to upgrade its frontline and mainstay SU-30MKI combat planes as they were also planned to be equipped with the missiles under an extensive modernisation project.
“The European manufacturers have told Air Force that they would not integrate the Meteor missile on either Russian platforms or with the Israeli equipment which can create issues but efforts are on to find a way out on the issue,” sources told Mail Today.
The Su-30MKIs comprise almost 50 per cent of the Air Force’s fighter squadron strength and the force has plans of upgrading them to the latest standards with latest radars and weapon systems to fulfill the requirements of modern day warfare on two fronts.
Pakistan and China don’t have a missile in the range of the Meteor, which has been developed by a European consortium and would be equipped with the Rafale combat planes that are being acquired from France by India.
India has bought a package of European Meteor missiles along with the Rafales and may prove to be game changers due to their beyond-visual-range striking capability of over 100 km.
The sources said that till the Kargil war and a few years after that, the Indian Air Force had complete superiority over the Pakistan Air Force as it did not have any beyond-visual range missile fitted on their F-16s or the Chinese supplied planes.
The French manufacturers of the Rafale have developed the planes as per Indian specifications and have integrated it with an Israeli Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) and satellite communication systems.
A number of Israeli-origin equipment has been integrated into the Sukhoi-30s as well over the years by the Indian side. India has also opted for Meteor as it has not yet been integrated with any American-origin or Chinese combat aircraft and will be operated exclusively by Indian Air Force in the neighbourhood.
SOURCE : INDIA TODAY