India rejects Russian military equipment


India has refused to accept delivery of its latest batch of Russian—built Sukhoi jet fighters, because of reliability problems with the engines on previous batches of Sukhois already delivered to India. According to reports in the Sunday Express of India, the Indian Air Force is suggesting that India stop payment to Russia, and cancel the entire $5 billion deal to buy, and produce under license, Russian fighters. India, which was closely aligned with the old Soviet Union in the later decades of the last century, relied heavily on Russian arms for its military. This incident puts another nail in the coffin of that relationship, and of Russia's viability as a source of up—to—date aviation.


Of course, Russia has long had a problem with the reliability of its jet engines. The metallurgy and precision manufacturing demanded by the extremes of temperature and stress in a modern high performance jet engine are simply too much for an economy so long held in the thrall of socialism, where production was measured in tons and meters, rather than in value to the buyer.


India recently purchase Ilyushin airframes for the platform of its new AWACS system. But, it is using US jet engines for the fleet, since AWACS planes must remain aloft for extended periods.


If airlines weren't afraid of negative passenger reaction, they would also go for cheap Russian airframes equipped with reliable American engines. But who in his right mind would book a trip on an airplane built in Russia, if a Boeing or Airbus option existed?


Posted by Thomas 12 14 03