Boosting their military ties, India on Monday inked deals worth around $3 billion with Russia to procure 42 new Su-30 MKI combat aircraft and 71 Mi-17V5 medium-lift helicopters.
The contracts for acquiring these weapon systems were signed during the 13th India-Russia Annual Summit after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi.
At the Summit meeting on Monday, a joint venture agreement was also inked between Elcom Systems Private Ltd. and OAO 'Vertoleti Rassi' (JSC 'Helicopters Russia'), which aims to set up a modern industrial facility for manufacturing Russian Mi and Kamov choppers in India.
Under one contract worth around $2.2 billion for licence production of 42 Su-30MKIs, Russia will deliver technical kits to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to assemble them here.
With this contract, the number of Su-30MKIs in the IAF would go up to 272 in next four to five years with 170 of them already at present in the force.
These multi-role frontline aircraft could also be equipped with Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.
Under the contract for 71 Mi-17V5 choppers, 59 of the machines would be given to the IAF while the remaining 12 would be used by paramilitary forces in their anti-Naxal operations.
These helicopters would be used by the Indian Air Force to replace its existing fleet of older versions of Mi-17 and Mi-8 aircraft in its inventory. This is a follow up order by the IAF for the new 'V5' version as it is in the process of inducting 80 such machines for which orders were placed around three years ago.
Already more than 40 of them have been inducted into the force at locations including Bathinda in Punjab, Srinagar and Bagdogra in West Bengal.