Scintillating showA Scandinavian team performing at the Aero India on Thursday.V. Sreenivasa Murthy
The fifth generation fighter aircraft to be developed jointly by India and Russia will be an entirely new machine based on the Russian fifth generation jet which is already flying, a senior Russian industry official has said. The two countries are negotiating the contract.
This year, India and Russia are likely to conclude several big-ticket deals worth billions of dollars. They include the S-400 long range air defence systems, Kamov-226T utility helicopters and additional Mi-17 helicopters.
“This is an entirely new project [FGFA] for building a new aircraft. We have designs and plans … but we cannot commit ourselves unless we see a willingness to continue [from India],” said Victor N. Kladov, Director of International Cooperation and Regional Policy of Rostec, Russian state corporation. He was speaking to a select group of journalists at Aero India on Thursday.
On the delay in concluding the contract, Mr. Kladov observed that there were some deliberations within the Indian government on the project. “The ball is on the Indian side... we are waiting,” he said.
Mr. Kladov had on Wednesday held discussions with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, during which FGFA figured prominently.
In 2010, India and Russia signed a preliminary design agreement to jointly produce the FGFA for use by both the countries, after which each had invested $295 million for preliminary design. But despite several rounds of discussions, the two countries have so far failed to reach a contract.
On the S-400 Triumf, Mr. Kladovv observed that negotiating a contract took “no less than a year,” as there were thousands of documentations to be discussed. “We made our initial request to India. In March, they invited us for negotiations… We are hopeful of signing the contract this year… or in the first half of next year,” he said.