India and Russia are exploring the possibility of setting up a joint venture in India to improve supply of spares for the Sukhoi-30 frontline fighter aircraft. The two sides are also in advance negotiations for a long term agreement for spares for the fleet, of which just over 50 per cent are operational at any given point of time.

“We recently got an inquiry from India for a long term spares agreement for five years. It will increase the serviceability of the aircraft. Spares contract will allow us to deliver to deliver spares faster once we get an indent from the Air Force,” Valery V Chishchevoy, Marketing Director of Sukhoi told visiting Indian journalists who are in Moscow as part of a media tour organised by United Aircraft Corporation of Russia.

The agreement will simplify the bureaucratic procedures for procuring spares and hence cut the time required to process any request from the Air Force by simplifying procedures like customs, bank guarantees, letter of credit and so on. The prices for spares and a method for price escalation will also be factored in, company officials said.

The idea is to eventually increase serviceability to 75 per cent for the Air Force’s Sukhoi fleet. Sukhois are the main stay of the Air Force but have poor availability due to spares and maintenance issues. Currently it takes 4-12 months from the time Air Force has a requirement to the time production begins in Russia after necessary approvals. The effort is to bring that down, Sukhoi officials said.

Earlier this year Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had informed Parliament that efforts were on to improve the serviceability rate of Sukhoi’s to 75 per cent by this year end from the current level of 56-57 per cent.

“We have been trying to improve the serviceability of Sukhois. It has improved by seven% in last 8-9 months to reach to 56-57 per cent,” he told the Rajya Sabha, exuding hope that it would go up to 75 per cent by the year end.

India and Russia started working on a long-term agreement in 2006 and eventually agreed on a technical assistance agreement in 2012 for aircraft maintenance and spares which brought down time of repairs of aircraft to be sent to Russia from 8-15 months to 60 days said Viacheslav Yu. Lozan, Director of After Sales Centre of Sukhoi. However both sides felt the need to further improve the availability of spares to increase the availability of the aircraft.

As part the spares agreement Sukhoi is exploring possibility of setting up of a Joint Venture with an Indian partner in India to ensure quick availability of spares.

Though the company is open for tie up with private players, Mr. Chishchevoy said that at the moment Indian private players are not ready to take up such complex technological work and added that they have had good experience working with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

India has contracted for 272 Su-30 MKI aircraft and the Air Force has already inducted over 200 of them with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited licensing manufacturing the aircraft in India.


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