In a significant boost for the capabilities of its Su-30 combat aircraft fleet, the Indian Air Force is equipping them with a new missile which can take down ground-based targets from a distance of over 250 kilometres.
The new missile has been acquired by the Indian Air Force under emergency provisions and will further enhance the capabilities of the Su-30 fighter jets which are now the mainstay of the force for at least the next 20 years. “The new high-speed low drag missile can hit targets at over 250 kilometres and is going to boost the capability of the aircraft,” defence sources told ANI.
The capability would allow the Indian Air Force to strike down enemy military camps and terrorist infrastructure as it did during the Balakot operations in 2019 from well within its own territory.
“The new missile would be important for the Su-30 fleet of the IAF as integrating long-range missiles from European or American origin would not be easy in view of the global situation,” the sources said.
The IAF is also upgrading the Su-30s in an upgrade programme expected to cost over Rs30,000 and would begin with 85 planes.
The IAF currently has around 260 of these heavy air superiority fighter jets which are now flying in sync with the most modern Rafale fighter planes of the force.
The IAF has strengthened the capabilities of the Su-30s in a big way with the addition of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles which can hit targets at over 500 kilometres.
The air-to-air missiles have also seen an upgrade while the made-in-India Astra – all weather beyond-visual-range air-to-air, and Rudram anti-radiation next-generation missiles have been added to the fleet. The BrahMos capability can help the Air Force to tackle any long-range tracking radar like that of the S-400 air defence systems.