The Superjet 100 is a 100-seater civil aircraft designed and developed by Sukhoi corporation, which has now been merged into UAC along with MiG corporation

India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation in talks to draw up a working arrangement to manufacture Sukhoi Superjet with foreign components

Sanctions-hit Russia, which is going for import substitution in a big way, has proposed to manufacture its Sukhoi Superjet civil aircraft in India and the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is in talks with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The plan is to manufacture the Superjet in Russia with Russian components and in India, set up manufacturing of Sukhoi Superjet international with foreign components, said Yury B. Slyusar, director general of UAC.

“We offered to the Indian side to assemble the Sukhoi Superjet with foreign-made components here in India in line with international technical specifications... Our plan is to manufacture in Russia with Russian components and in India to set up manufacturing of Sukhoi Superjet international, which can be built very fast...,” Mr. Slyusar said, speaking to a few journalists on the sidelines of Aero India last week. “On the request of HAL, we made a presentation and sent it to them and we are awaiting their feedback.”

The Superjet 100 is a 100-seater civil aircraft designed and developed by Sukhoi corporation, which has now been merged into UAC along with MIG corporation. The other major aircraft manufacturing companies, Ilyushin and Tupolev, are also set to be merged with UAC soon. The Superjet could be the first Indian-made civil aircraft, which meets the requirements of national aviation authorities, he noted.

In a related development, last week Air India announced a massive deal for the procurement of 470 civilian aircraft, 250 from Airbus and 220 from Boeing. Separately, India is currently evaluating proposals from three global engine manufacturers — General Electric, Rolls Royce and Safran — to co-develop and manufacture a fighter jet engine locally to meet future Indian requirements.

On the current situation in the backdrop of the sanctions, Mr. Slyusar said the Superjet has foreign components that were being certified by European certification agencies and at present they are making an “absolute Russian variant with Russian components, avionics and systems so that there are no foreign components”.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Russia has seen a series of sanctions imposed by the West and was expelled from the global SWIFT payment system. Since then, they have been doing import replacements, Mr. Slyusar said.

On the choice of HAL as the partner in India, he said they have extensive military cooperation with HAL and it will be a nice platform to convert to civil items. A total of 200 Superjet aircraft were manufactured and practically all of them are in active operation, he said, adding that they are open to working with the Indian private sector for airframes and vendor items among others.

Mr. Slyusar pitched the Superjet as an ideal platform for India’s plans to expand local and regional transportation under the UDAN scheme. The Superjet aircraft will be fully compliant and very useful for India, he stressed.

Sukhoi Upgrade

A major upgrade programme for the entire Su-30MKI fleet has been under negotiation with Russia for a while to give the aircraft better radar, avionics and weapons among others. As reported earlier, IAF officials had said that it was envisaged that all upgrades would be incorporated per aircraft in one go but given the cost and time it would take to cover the entire fleet, the IAF has decided to go for capability upgrades in phases.

On this, Mr. Slyusar said discussions are continuously on and they just defined the technical specifications. “We plan to undertake considerable upgrades in India with HAL. It was the main requirement of the Indian territory, upgrade and testing should take place here,” he said.

Stating that they are installing Indian-made equipment and weapons on the Su-30MKIs, he said they had offered to the Indian side different options, including a new engine, and it was for the IAF to decide.