Vladimir Radyuhin

Agreement likely to be inked next week

Fully assembled 12 SU-30MKI aircraft to be suppliedRemaining six planes to be delivered in DecemberIndo-Russian deal to build multi-role transport aircraft

MOSCOW: India will exchange 18 Sukhoi-30MK aircraft it had earlier purchased from Russia for a more sophisticated version of this long-range fighter jet, Su-30MKI.

Russia's Irkut manufacturer of Sukhoi warplanes said it planned to sign the deal next week. Under an earlier agreement, the SU-30MK planes were to be upgraded to the SU-30MKI version in India.

Irkut head Oleg Demchenko said 12 of the 18 planes were already assembled in the company's factory in Irkutsk. The remaining six would be delivered in December.

License accord

Irkut will also bring the supply of knock-down kits to assemble 140 SU-30MKI aircraft under licence in India. "Responding to a request from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, we have reached an agreement to fulfil the licence accord in 2012 instead of 2014," the Irkut chief said.

Last week, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had rapped the HAL for huge cost overruns in the production of SU-30MKI under Russian licence.

He said the SU-30MKI kits would be supplied to India in a high degree of assembly. "They will be almost fully assembled aircraft," Mr. Demchenko said.