New Delhi: India is going ahead with the acquisition of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft with Russia after an internal committee of the Ministry of Defence recommended that the purchase of the aircraft will duplicate India’s plan to develop a homegrown advanced medium combat aircraft, according to an MoD official.
“The internal committee, headed by retired Indian Air Force Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman, after studying technical parameters, has recommended India to acquire the Indo-Russian FGFA,” the MoD official said, referring to the fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
On the road ahead, the official said, a final agreement between India and Russia will be prepared that will pave the way for the release of over $5 billion toward India’s share to develop the FGFA.
A preliminary development agreement was signed in 2010 between Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, or HAL, when India paid its 50 percent share of $250 million toward initial development cost.
“A firm order of 108 will be put in the final draft of the agreement being prepared,” said an IAF official. India and Russia have yet to finalise the work share for the production and technology transfer.
“Defence Research and Development Organisation has been involved regarding the work share and transfer of technology, whereas the IAF is involved in finalising the operational requirements and the number of fighters,” said Daljit Singh, retired Indian Air Force air marshal and defence analyst.
“The involvement [of both Russia and India] is huge in the FGFA program, wherein HAL will be doing many systems like flight controls, avionics with inputs of DRDO and other establishments,” said the MoD official.