India seals $25bn Russia deal for 127 war planes

India seals $25bn Russia deal for 127 war planes

HomeAsia-PacificIndia Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:27AM

India has reportedly sealed a $25 billion arms deal with Russia for the development and purchase of 127 fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft (FGFA).

The development came following a deadlock over an identical arms deal with France for the purchase of its fourth-generation Rafale jet fighters, prompting the Indian military to hasten an even larger venture with Russia on the joint development and procurement of an equal quantity of the 5th-generation aircraft, The Times of India reported Monday citing unnamed sources.

According to the report, India will also make concessions to accelerate the delivery of the war planes in a bid to take delivery of the first ones out of the production line in 36 months rather than of the previously envisaged 94 months.

However, the report adds, the FGFA contract will not substitute the outgoing Rafale deal, as New Delhi will likely replace it by purchasing a matching quantity of the Russian Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, which are already being manufactured in India.

“As for the Russian Sukhoi-30MKI fighters the curve in technology absorption will also be steep in the FGFA project,” said the source at India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Aerospace and Defense Company.

The majority of the 272 Sukhois contracted for $12 billion are being produced by HAL, the report notes.

This is while India’s Defense Ministry is currently making efforts to resolve the stalemate with Dassault prior to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming state visit to France in early April.

Meanwhile, the initial contract signed with Moscow implied a 50:50 design and production deal to develop an Indian version of Russia’s Sukhoi T-50 (PAK-FA) 5G fighter jets.

The $295-million preliminary design contract was signed in December 2010, the report said, calling for the production of a two-seat version of the PAK-FA and preconditioned that all single-pilot jetfighters must be assembled in India at HAL’s Ozar facility.

“We have agreed to a lesser work-share for a realistic contract, with the initial lot of the FGFA being imported and the rest being made here under technology transfer,” the HAL source added as quoted in the report.

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