Moscow: Media reports emerging from Russia indicate that Rosoboronexport has signed a $500-million contract with India for the delivery of 18 Su-30MKI fighter jets. Reports also suggest that the deal includes the repurchase of a similar number of early vintage Su-30MK aircraft from India, which could likely be recycled and sold to potential customers elsewhere.
As a new Su-30 MKI costs $40 million, the price of 18 new such combat jets would ordinarily cost $720 million. With India delivering 18 used Su-30MK's, the amount of $500 million would reflect the amortized amount for the used aircraft.
From the reports it would appear that the finalization of the deal would now allow both countries to firm up the contract for an additional 40 of these aircraft, which has already been announced a few months back. The deal comes at a cost of $1.6 billion. The 40 new aircraft, according to reports, would be assembled in India under a licensed arrangement, from kits supplied by the aircraft's manufacturer Irkut.
Though the contract for 18 of these aircraft has only been signed now, Irkut has apparently already constructed of 12 of these aircraft, working on bank advances it took out on its own. The remaining 6 planes are likely to be delivered by the end of the year.
The 18 early vintage Su-30MKI planes were delivered to India between 1997 and 1999, and by now have logged about 1500 flight hours. Their overhaul, for eventual resale, may cost Irkut about $12 million.
Reports suggest that the used aircraft were meant for resale to Belarus, but the deal fell through when Russia and Belarus came into conflict over the price of Russian natural gas.