The indigenous manufactured Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jet is costlier than the Russian SU-30 as their specifications are not the same and it would not be appropriate to compare costs, the government said Wednesday.
Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre, in a written answer to a question in Lok Sabha, said the higher cost of indigenously manufactured SU-30MKI is due to factors such as additional modifications incorporated in the plane to enhance the operational capability to suit the Indian Air Force's requirements.
The minister said that being a transfer of technology (ToT) programme, cost is involved towards payment of license fee to the Russian side.
Owing to the low volume of production of Indian SU-30 MKI as compared to Russian SU-30, economies of scale come into play, Mr Bhamre said.
Import of raw materials and proprietary components from Russia involves dependency on Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for the offered kit costs, which are not proportionate with the kit contents, he said.
The minister, however, asserted that indigenous manufacturing has created advanced skill sets in the country, a step towards self-reliance and will result in lower life cycle cost and reduced dependency on OEM, repair, maintenance, faster turn-around time, and quick support to IAF bases.
Since the facilities are indigenous, future production supplies is likely to be cheaper if new order for bulk production is placed on Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Mr Bhamre said.
To another question, Mr Bhamre said 31 fighter squadrons are operational in Indian Air Force and 36 Rafale jets have been requisitioned in ready-made fly away condition.
Responding to another question, he said currently, 195 out of 593 posts are vacant in Armed Forces Tribunal which include group A, B, and C posts as well as members.