Moscow: An additional 42 Sukhoi frontline fighters will be provided to India by Russia under an agreement inked between the two sides during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit here.

With this pact, the total number of acquired or contracted aircraft by India in various stages of manufacture of the frontline Su-30 MKI fighters would increase to 272.

The agreement for the upgraded Sukhois was signed by Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Director M A Dmitriev in the presence of Prime Minister Singh and President Dmitry Medvedev after their talks at the 12th annual Indo-Russian Summit at the Kremlin on Friday.

The pact, which was among the five agreements initialed between the two countries, came against the backdrop of a crash of an Indian Air Force's Sukhoi-30 near Pune.

The mishap, in which the two pilots ejected safely, raised some technical questions and also led to the grounding of the entire fleet of 120 planes pending investigations.

An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) and a general contract were signed in 2000 for the manufacture of 140 Su-30 MKI aircraft by HAL. A 2007 protocol envisaged manufacture of a further 40 aircraft.

Earlier, 50 Su-30 aircraft were purchased in phases prior to signing of IGA and deliveries started in the late 90s.

The latest version is expected to include a new cockpit, upgraded radar and certain stealth features to avoid radar detection.

Significantly, the upgraded Sukhoi-30 MKIs will be able to carry a heavier weapons load, especially the airborne version of the Brahmos cruise missile.

The first delivery of the upgraded Sukhois is expected in 2014 and the last by 2018.

(Agencies)