TechSignificant setback for Russia as ally Abandons Il-38SD Aircraft

Significant setback for Russia as ally Abandons Il‑38SD Aircraft

IL-38SD belonging to the Indian Navy
IL-38SD belonging to the Indian Navy
Images source: © Angad Singh
8:37 AM EST, November 14, 2023

India has decided to retire the Soviet-era Il-38SD aircraft, marking yet another recent sign of India's declining relationship with Moscow and a simultaneous warming of ties with the United States. The initiation of Stryker's armored vehicle production on the Indian subcontinent could be the next big step, which would be an unprecedented event.

The Stryker is one of the best military vehicles in its category, currently manufactured exclusively in the United States. According to reports from sources like Bloomberg, India could become the first partner to establish a plant specializing in the production of these American vehicles. Such an agreement would signal increasing cooperation between these powers and, as media covering military affairs underscore, an event that will undoubtedly attract attention from Moscow and Beijing.

India Abandons the Il-38SD

Meanwhile, Russia must digest another disappointment. India has confirmed earlier reports of retiring the Soviet-era Il-38SD aircraft. These aircraft have served in the Indian naval aviation for nearly 50 years. The USSR supplied them between 1978 and 1983 and underwent extensive modernization in 2000.

The Il-38SD is a naval patrol aircraft and a submarine-hunting unit. Measuring about 131 feet long, it can reach an altitude of roughly 36,000 feet and a speed of up to 400 mph. The Drive reports that over the years, India has primarily used these aircraft for patrol missions and tracking foreign submarines in the Indian Ocean. The average flight time was about 4 hours. Occasionally, they were also employed for power demonstrations and to cover fleet maneuvers during certain regional military operations.

In the 80s, India had requested additional Il-38SD aircraft, but Moscow wasn't prepared to fulfill these demands. Instead, it managed to sell Tu-142s to India. Now, Delhi authorities are looking in a completely different direction. Since 2013, India has been gradually adding American P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft to its fleet, aiming to possess 18 such aircraft.

India Shifts Away from Russia

Recently, there were reports that India will build its own S-400 system. A military program connected to this will have approximately $5.43 billion budgeted towards it. The winner of the tender will be required to create a weapon based on the equipment that India has purchased from Russia in the past.

The United States and India are currently discussing several defense cooperation projects. This includes plans to manufacture jet engines and various types of drones, repair US Navy ships at Indian shipyards, and projects focused on ammunition production as well as various reconnaissance and supervision systems. Adding Stryker vehicle production to this list could potentially be the most globally significant event.

Strykers are relatively new entities, having been incorporated into the US Army only in 2002. They've demonstrated their value not just in theory, significantly assisting Ukraine in their conflict with Russia. Equipped with a 12.7 mm Browning M2 machine gun and a 40 mm Mk 19 grenade launcher, and powered by a 350 horsepower engine with an 8x8 drive system, their armor provides protection against 7.62 mm rounds on all sides and 14.5 mm rounds from the front. Additional modules can be used to reinforce the armor.

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