Today President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil has flown in a modern aircraft of the Indian Air Force - multi-role fighter jet aircraft Su-30MKI produced by the Irkut Corporation.

Shortly after landing on the Lohegaon military base near Pune city 74 year old head of state who is at the same time the Supreme commander in chief of Indian armed forces said to the press that the sortie was an opportunity for her to get a close look at the sophisticated equipment used in the Sukhoi 30 MKI.

President Pratibha Patil entered become the first woman head of state to fly in a fighter jet aircraft. Before this only men-presidents flew the modern supersonic aircrafts. The previous Indian President  Abdul Kalam flew the Su-30MKI aircraft in 2006.

In India this plane became «a subject of national pride». It takes part in all military parades and the aviation exhibitions held in the country, successfully represents the national Air Forces on the international military games. Its image is placed on the anniversary coin which has been let out to the 75 anniversary of the Air Forces of India.

The Su-30MKI (modernized, commercial, Indian) is developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau to fulfill the order of IAF and serially produced on Irkutsk aircraft building plant, branch of the Irkut Corporation. It is the first supermanoeuvrable serially produced military aircraft. The first export fighter equipped with the onboard radar station with the phased array. The plane differs by the advanced avionics (including foreign manufactured), united in a complex with «open architecture» that gives an opportunity to use existing and future high-precision aviation means of defeat.

India has signed with Russia a number of contracts providing both direct purchases of fighters Su-30MKI, and the organization of their licensed manufacture at the largest Indian aircraft building enterprise «Hindustan Aeronautics Limited» (HAL). The total cost of these transactions – over 8 billion dollars. Today Indian Air Forces possess over 100 fighters Su-30MKI, and by 2015 there will be about 230.

Negotiations about modernization of Su-30MKI for the IAF are carried on currently. In particular, they are planned to be equipped with the Russian-Indian supersonic cruise missile "Bramos" that will compose a unique arms complex.

High fighting efficiency of the plane and positive experience of interaction of Russia and India within the bounds of this program have influenced the decision of the Malaysian and Algerian Air Forces which have ordered the fighters created on the base of Su-30MKI. Deliveries in these countries are finished this year. Possibility of purchasing of aircrafts of Su-30MKI type is considered by some more countries.

The president of Irkut Corporation  Oleg Demchenko said: «The appreciation of Su-30MKI from the Indian president, means a lot to us. The program of producing Su-30 has allowed not only to equip the Air Forces of India with excellent warplanes, but also has strengthened partnership between the Irkut Corporations and HAL which in parallel produce Su-30MKI at the plants in Irkutsk and Nasike today. We highly appreciate the experience of interaction and we hope to develop our relations both within the bounds of the Su-30MKI program and other projects».

The general director of the Sukhoi Company Michael Pogosyan noted: «The Su-30MKI  project has opened a new stage in strategic partnership of Russia and India in the field of aircraft engineering. During its realization we have passed from direct deliveries aircraft technicians and the organizations of its licensed manufacture with transfer of high technologies to actual cooperation. Teamwork over this plane has given us invaluable experience of fruitful cooperation which is realized now at modernization of Su-30MKI and creation of the aircraft of fifth generation».
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