India will sign a defence deal with Russia within a fortnight under which 18 Sukhoi-30K fighter jets it had purchased earlier from Moscow will be exchanged for the latest su-30 MKI multi-role war planes.
A spokesperson of Irkut Corporation, the manufacturer of Sukhoi jets, said the trade-in contract would be signed within a fortnight. However, she declined to reveal the value of the deal.
As per the deal 18 su-30k jets with limited capabilities, supplied in late 1990s to the Indian Air Force (IAF) would be bought back by Russia and the similar number of latest fighters would be shipped into India.
Russian defence expert Konstantin Makiyenko said Irkut will supply 18 Su-30MKI jets specially tailored for the IAF, while older jets received from it will be upgraded for deployment in Belarus along the border with NATO.
In 2004 Russia had completed the supply of 40 Su-30 fighters and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has already launched the assembling of its latest version under licence for the production of 140 jets.
The Sukhoi license deal provides the full transfer of technology to HAL, including indigenous production of thrust-vectoring engines, a privilege denied to China under a similar deal.