The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Friday received the first desi-overhauled Sukhoi. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar handed over the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL)-overhauled Su-30 MKI to the IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha at an event held at Nashik.
Su-30MKI the backbone of IAF
The Sukhois have become the backbone of IAF fighter fleet. With concerns of the falling Squadrons growing, the IAF heavily depends on the Sukhois. Patting HAL on its back, Defence Minister said the workforce in Nashik played a key role in absorbing technology.
"India will continue to need fighter planes such as Sukhois due to not-so-friendly neighbourhood. Keep-up the good work towards increasing the production capacity. We are one family and let us work together," Manohar Parrikar said.
Air Chief Arup Raha said that the IAF would continue to depend on HAL heavily in future too. "We both are inter-dependent," he said. HAL Chairman Dr R K Tyagi, said that the second aircraft is also ready for delivery.
"HAL will also act as a single window OEM for supporting Su-30MKI fleet. We are confident of improving the serviceability and ramp up capacity," he added. The Su-30 overhaul facility at HAL Nashik is only of its kind in the world and has export prospect since nearly 10 countries have Su-30 fleet.
New facilities for the Sukhois
HAL set up 10 new shops for the overhaul of Sukhois. In addition, existing facilities like pipeline overhaul, plating/process and shops of Aircraft Manufacturing Divisions are extensively used during the overhaul. Tentative Repair Technical Documents (RTD) were received from Russia.
During the overhaul process, the technologies have been finalised with the help of Russian and HAL experts.
There are 2478 number of tasks/technology process to execute the complete overhaul of aircraft. Online system for tracking and monitoring of parts are also established at Nashik.
Overhauling is a complex process
During overhaul, an aircraft undergoes stripping to skeleton level, checking and reconditioning of each and every repairable component, incorporating more than 600 modifications, replacing the non-repairable defective/life expired components and finally rebuilding it to original configuration of latest standard of Su 30 MKI aircraft.
More than 10000 lines of unique part numbers, amounting to nearly 75000 quantities are processed, reconditioned, repaired, overhauled and assembled back on the aircraft. After successful testing of various systems on ground and in air, as per stipulated flight profiles, the aircraft is certified to fly for next assigned TBO life. At present, the TTL (Total Technical Life) of the aircraft is 6000 hrs/25 years.
Overhauling process starts when aircraft along with document is received in ARS (Aircraft Receiving Section), incoming test are performed and de-painting of total structure is done.
Aircraft is virtually dismantled
During aircraft dismantling, major components such as engines, wings, control surfaces are dismantled first and detail dismantling to remove various aggregates/pipelines, flight control rods /bell cranks, fabricated and standard parts etc. are carried out thereafter.
The parts dismantled and pre-surveyed are sent to the concerned overhaul shops for further operations/processes. Aggregates of various systems such as mechanical system, landing gear system, aircraft armament system, aeronautical equipment system, electrical systems, avionics systems are overhauled to give it new TBO life.
"Broadly, the procedure involved are dismantling, fault finding, part reconditioning/replacement, assembly and testing. Seven hundred and forty such varieties of aggregates are involved from all overhauling shops of Nasik and sister Divisions," says HAL chairman Dr Tyagi.