India-Pakistan: July 24, 2000


India is having serious problems with its purchase of Su-30MK multi-role fighters from Russia. The Comptroller General and Auditor General of the Indian government are asking embarrassing questions about why a dozen of the fighters, already paid for (over $600 million), remain at bases in Russia while the eight planes actually delivered can be used for only limited roles. The original deal provided for 40 aircraft to be delivered through 2001. The first eight were to be limited to air defense roles while the other 32 were to be of an advanced multi-role design. The total sale amounted to $1.2 billion, plus another $300 million spent to upgrade Indian air bases to accept the new fighters. The problem is that India was supposed to provide some key avionics, and to buy others from the West. All of this equipment was to be shipped to Russia and built into the aircraft. Due to various problems (mismanagement, corruption, and the curious fact that few if any Indian military technology programs actually reach a successful completion) this equipment has not been delivered. The result is that the first eight air-defense aircraft were delivered without key systems, and the other aircraft continue to wait for these systems to be shipped to Russia.--Stephen V Cole


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