FOR IMPROVING ARMENIA’S SU-30SM FIGHTER JETS WITH ASTRA AND BRAHMOS MISSILES, INDIA IS THE PERFECT CANDIDATE

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According to rumours, Armenia is “eager” on having India provide arms and train pilots for its Su-30SM Flanker fighter jets, which were produced in Russia. Although no such agreement has been revealed, New Delhi could undoubtedly significantly enhance these Armenian planes. But is that truly Yerevan’s first priority? according to a global portal.

The majority of India’s fleet of 272 Su-30MKI Flankers were constructed by New Delhi under licence. India has operated such a huge number of these aircraft for 20 years, in addition to developing and acquiring potent non-Russian weapons for them.

An accomplished Indian fighter pilot told local media in January that the Su-30MKI’s stunning integration of numerous weaponry, sensors, and avionics from around the world set it apart from other Flankers in use today.

The air-launched BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which gives the Su-30MKI a significant standoff capability, is among these missiles, as is the Astra beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BRAAM).

India and Armenia have recently seen a noticeable growth in their defence cooperation. In 2022, Yerevan placed a four-battery order for the estimated $250 million Pinaka multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS), which was manufactured in India, becoming the first foreign purchaser. The two nations are also concerned by the development of trilateral military links between Pakistan, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. Therefore, working together to upgrade Armenia’s Su-30 fleet makes sense.

There’s a chance that India will provide an unforeseen update for the Su-30SM fighter used by the Armenian Air Force. Under the wings of the Su-30SM are the BrahMos air-launched air-to-surface missile and the Astra air-to-air missile.

There are 14 combat aircraft in the Armenian Air Force. Four Su-30SM and ten Su-25K aircraft. Moscow purchased the four aircraft, despite Yerevan’s initial desire to purchase three times as many. The administration had long denied this truth, but the month-long conflict that erupted in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020 made it clear that the planes had arrived from Moscow unarmed. This infuriated the populace, who turned against the government and the Armenian Ministry of Defense.

By refusing to pay Moscow for the armament of its fighter jets years ago, Yerevan committed a costly error. Israeli Harop kamikaze drones and Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones were used by Azerbaijan to strike Armenian objectives at the start of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Consequently, the Su-30SM was mocked after the combat was over.

Russia can carry out this instruction, but not at this time. Its whole military is devoted to the confrontation with Ukraine. For Armenia, any delay on the part of Russia would be terrible. India, on the other hand, avoids hostilities and produces its own fighter missiles as well as the Su-30MKI under licence from Russia. Armenia may greatly benefit from the expertise of India, whose air force is supported by more than 220 Su-30MKI jets.

One of the most combat-ready aircraft in its class is the Indian Flanker-E. New Delhi has made significant investments in the creation of its arsenal. The combination of Astra and BrahMos missiles is referred to as “beautiful integration” in India when referring to the Su-30MKI upgrades.

It is undeniable that Armenia will be able to upgrade its warriors and considerably improve their fighting capability if Yerevan goes to New Delhi. According to Indian sources, the S-30SM will be more lethal in this arrangement. especially at this time, when Yerevan cannot afford to buy new aircraft.

Military analysts note out that modernising Armenia’s combat aircraft is preferable to buying new ones due to both the cost savings and Azerbaijan’s deterrence, in addition to other reasons. To put it another way, Baku would acquire more combat aircraft if it bought additional fighters. The Sino-Pakistani JF-17 is even currently a potential provider. For Armenia, a squadron of JF-17 aircraft armed with Chinese PL-15 BVRAAMs would be disastrous.

Therefore, it is suggested to use Armenia’s typical strategy, which is renewal. The Astra and BrahMos missiles can be rapidly and readily integrated under the wings of the four Su-30SM aircraft by Indian technicians. As a result, Yerevan won’t need to employ its pricey fighters to engage Azerbaijani targets outside of visual range with the Su-30SM.

The only relationship that will be beneficial to Armenia and India at this time is their friendship. especially in light of the trilateral drills between Pakistan, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. In particular, Azerbaijan receives weapons from Pakistan, while Islamabad has benefited from Baku’s geopolitical, geoeconomic, and geostrategic advantages.

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