New Delhi: Since few days sources suggested that the project on the development of a 5th Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) between India and Russia remains stuck for few reasons. But now seeping all the speculations a top Russian official said that the talks are in the “second stage”. He further informed that a contract document may be signed soon.
While talking to a news agency, the CEO of Rostec Corporation Sergey Chemezov said that while Russia has traditionally not made single-engine fighter jets, it can join hands with India in making these jets as India has announced its new Strategic Partnership model, if it is “invited”. Reportedly, though India and Russia have been working on a joint project to develop the 5th generation fighter aircraft, but a final contract has not yet been signed. Chemezov said a contract document is likely to be signed in the near future, but did not give any exact timeline.
Earlier in 2007, the 2 countries had inked an inter-governmental pact for the FGFC project on the base of the Russian Sukhoi-57 or the Sukhoi PAK FA T-50 fighter jet. Then in December 2010, India had agreed to pay $295 million towards the preliminary design of the fighter which is also referred to as Perspective Multi-role Fighter (PMF).
However, negotiations faced various hurdles in the subsequent years. There were several disagreements between the 2 countries, including on work and cost share, aircraft technology as well as the number of aircraft to be ordered. Informed sources said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) felt the deal was very expensive as the cost of developing 4 prototype fighter jets would be around $6 billion.
Notably, in October 2017, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) backed the India-Russia FGCA programme by saying that this will bring home niche technology.
Meanwhile, TATA Advanced Systems Ltd and US plane-maker Lockheed Martin have signed an agreement to produce F-16 fighters in India, and Swedish aerospace major SAAB and Indian infrastructure conglomerate Adani group have also announced a tie-up. The 2 are so far the main competitors in the project, for which a Request For Information (RFI) is likely to be issued soon.