India to arm its Su-30 fighters with MBDA-built ASRAAM

It appears that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is to install a British missile system, the MBDA-built ASRAAM, on its HAL-built Su-30 MKI (Russian origin jets, built in India). IAF intends to replace the Russian Vympel R-73 with the ASRAAM, and hopes to be able to standardise this weapon system across all its fleet.

India to arm its Su 30 fighters with MBDA built ASRAAM Su-30 MKI fighter jet and the MBDA ASRAAM missile (Picture source : livefistdefence)

Replacing the Russian-built Vympel R-73, the missile originally mounted on the Su-30 MKI, by the MBDA ASRAAM would be a premiere. Though, it seems that the IAF has already undergone requisite software modifications to deploy the ASRAAM on its homegrown Su-30.

Moreover is the IAF, through this modification, eyeing to standardise this weapon system among all its fleet. This standardising would signify various savings for the IAF. MBDA is also supporting the idea of an ASRAAM standardising by proposing the IAF to shift final assembly of the weapon system from Bolton (UK) to the India's state-owned missile house Bharat Dynamics Ltd in Hyderabad (India).

The IAF has confirmed that the Su-30 MKI was a priority in the ASRAAM integration program. And after the Su-30 MKI modification, the IAF would like to arm its LCA Tejas, its upgraded MiG-29 and even its Hawk trainers with the ASRAAM. Yet, India may be restrained by its Russian ally on this purchase. But as India often buys Russian weapons and vehicles, Russia may turn a blind eye on this acquisition, trying to maintain good ralations with one of its biggest purchasing countries regarding armament.