India and Russia starts drafting the Su 30 MKI upgrade Plan
The Indian and Russian officials started drafting a proposed modernization plan of Indian fleet of Su 30 MKI and the Russian Su 30 SM fighters, the proposed modernized plan take off only after 2020, once the Indian Su 30 MKI orders completed and the Russian orders of sixty Su 30 SM fighters, India and Russia both plans to upgrade the Su 30 into Super Standard, as of now India planned to operate some 272 Su 30, with 200+ units operational and another 72 in orders, and the Russian's operating some 15 Su 30 SM and another 45 in orders.
The Modernization talks started in early 2012, and plans to start the works by 2015, because of some delays in the process, like the cost over run and Radar selection, the upgrade cost estimated more than six billion dollars for the Indian Su 30 MKI fleet, include new engines, radars and smaller structural changes, as India already working on the structural modification, to carry large sized missiles, Russians also working on a suitable Radar which can perfectly fit inside the radar dome.
The Su 30 Flankers primarily designed to provide air defense to the Russian air space, so the Flanker was designed to carry large number of air to air missiles only, no Bombs or no other big sized stand off cruise missiles, even the Su 30 series won't carry drop tanks, carrying drop tanks extensively reduces the air craft's maneuverability, and makes the Fighter keep inside the Sub sonic speed, nowadays Supersonic drop tanks developed and tested, however Russia never bothered about the extended Range since all Russian Aircraft's has good combat radius. except the Mikoyan platforms.
So at first in MKI modernization, India made several structural changes in the airframe to carry dumb bombs, Stand off anti shipping missiles and stand off anti radiation missiles, those guided missiles would be fitted under the belly only, thus makes several issues too, like problems in landing etc, that's the major reason of Indian Air force's purchase of western aircraft's like Jaguar and Mirages in earlier days, as Russia too adopted adding air to ground weaponry into the Flanker series and making as Multi role, Russia went for two versions one is the Su 30 SM and the Su 35 S, both are considered as multi role air crafts.
India mainly wants the Su 30 MKI should fire an Brahmos missile, the missile poses a serious offensive power in case of war, HAL already made some structural changes into the First two Su 30 MKI given by the IAF, they already completed ground based trails, include landing vibration trails, and planning for a test launch of the missile by early next year, It was earlier planned this year, once the Structural changes completed then HAL continuously work on the other platforms, however there is no mention of transferring some 42 modified Su 30 MKI armed with Brahmos to the SFC for Nuclear delivery, and it's hardly to be believed of Brahmos with Nuclear warheads.
The Engine issue is a major problem in the existing Su 30 MKI platform, even IAF thinks to adopt a western engine during the upgrade program, and the Russian too offering modified AL 31 engines, however so far IAF didn't said about the engine replacements as of now, because the Sukhoi Engine service center already running in HAL Koraput, and it shows that India may go for a advanced Russian engine based on the AL 31 or the more advanced AL 117 engines who powering the Su 35 fighters.
Updated electronic warfare and Jamming system is one of the most important add on in the Su 30 upgrade, currently two Russian Jammers participating in the upgrade process, one is the Russian KNIRTI developed SAP 518 and the KRET's Khibiny jamming and EW system, India already evaluated the SAP 518 and it's believed the first batch of 42 structurally modified Indian flankers with Brahmos could carry the SAP 518 wingtip jammers, so far from analysis made by foreign military watchers the KRET's Khibiny is the advanced Jamming system ever developed by the Russians.
Radar is the another piece which also discussed in the modernization plan, the Russians offering the most advanced Zhuk ME GaN based AESA Radar, however IAF asks about the Byelka Radar, which was developed for the T 50 program, the Byelka developed from BARS Irbis E radar, which is more feasible option for the IAF,
The entire Su 30 MKI modernization program is expected to be completed in 2030, that's why IAF sticks the HAL to stop the Production line once complete the 272 orders placed by IAF, It's expected that HAL completes the MKI delivery by 2019.