India, Russia agree to fast-track FGFA programme

BLACKEAGLE

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India, Russia agree to fast-track FGFA programme

Rahul Bedi, New Delhi - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
22 January 2015

India and Russia have agreed to fast-track development of the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA-derived FGFA. Source: IHS/Patrick Allen
India and Russia agreed on 21 January to expedite their joint military programmes, particularly the delayed Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project.

"We discussed all issues, including the FGFA, and have decided to fast-track many of them as there are apprehensions about the slow pace in their execution," Indian defence minister Manohar Parrikar said in New Delhi.

Speaking after jointly chairing the Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IGC-MTC) with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, Parrikar said the two sides would hold regular "interactions" to maintain project deadlines.

Official sources told IHS Jane's that differences persisted on the FGFA's preliminary design features despite a 10 January Russian media report claiming that the two sides had managed to resolve them following a four-year delay.

Quoting FGFA project director Andrev Marshankin, the Sputnik news agency had reported agreement between Indian and Russian officials on the specifications of the 30-tonne fighter, which is based on the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA. Enduring Indian reservations over the FGFA programme include those over the fighter's AL-41F1 engine and its stealth and weapon-carrying capability.

India is also insistent on Russia restoring its workload in the USD10.5 billion developmental programme after recently reducing it from 25% to 13% without consulting Delhi. It is also seeking greater access to the fighter's design configuration, which it claims it is denied.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans on acquiring around 130 FGFA, down from an earlier projected requirement of around 220.

Meanwhile, the two defence ministers signed an agreement to share flight safety information relating to military aircraft, especially fighters, that both sides operate. IAF officers said this pact was long overdue, for whenever one of their Russian-origin aircraft crashed, they faced complex bureaucratic procedures in seeking access to the platform's original equipment manufacturer.

This drawback recurred recently after a Sukhoi Su-30MKI crashed near Pune, western India, in October 2014, resulting in the entire fleet of multi-role fighters being grounded.

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The IGC-MTC meeting took place ahead of US president Barack Obama's three-day visit to India, which starts on 25 January and during which several defence agreements are anticipated.

Military planners said Russia is anxious to maintain its position as India's principal materiel supplier, having provided it with defence equipment worth over USD45 billion since the 1960s.

Over 60% of major Indian military platforms are Russian in origin, but in recent years India had been sourcing its defence goods from other suppliers, including from Israel and the United States, among others.

Between 2011 and 2014 the United States surpassed Russia as India's topmost materiel provider, selling equipment worth INR326.15 billion (USD5.3 billion), compared with INR253.36 billion worth of imports from the latter.

India, Russia agree to fast-track FGFA programme - IHS Jane's 360
 

Scorpion

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Indian is growing very fast. This is scary, Im wondering how will Pakistan counter the growing indian navy and air force?
 

jeremy2

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India is indeed emerging as a real power house in that region and her rivals must really be anxious of her every step.Acquiring such sophisticated fighter jets just goes to show that India is not taking any chances given the hostile ties it shares with her neighbors.
 

globulon

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I'm not at all surprised that India is accelerating its military capabilities considering its neighbours. On one hand there is ongoing conflict and instability in Pakistan, and China is certainly not afraid of flexing its muscle both economically and militarily. I bet this move is primarily a matter of self-preservation for them.
 
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