Differences crop up with Russia over Pak-Fa fighter jet deal has cropped up between long-term partners India and Russia over the prestigious project to jointly develop and produce the next generation fighter planes.The two countries had agreed in 2010 to develop the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), which at $ 30 billion USD would be the biggest defence deal ever in the world.
The preliminary design contract (PDC) phase costing $ 295 million was completed on June 19. However, New Delhi and Moscow will take at least an year more to take the next step — that is signing of the final design Research and Development (R&D) contract worth $ 11 billion.
The draft contracts for the proposed R&D were exchanged in mid-2012. India’s share is $ 5.5 billion Since then, developments have lost pace. Sources said India wants access to technical data and be a contributor in the R&D as that will enable its teams to get experience. Also, India is seeking a ban on the sale of the plane to other countries.
Indian planners accept in private is that Russia, or any other country, would never part with engine design specifications and metallurgy. “India is looking to be more than a
monetary contributor in the deal”, said the source. The IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, confirmed yesterday that brakes had been put on the FGFA project, at least for now. “We are still working on the R&D contract. It will take one more year. Technical discussions are on. Till we get technical details, which we need to know, we cannot even get to the issue of discussing financial termsand conditions”, the IAF Chief said.
The first hint of delay was when Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Delhi in December last year but the R&D contract was not signed.The first induction was planned for 2022, but the assessment within the MoD is that it will be delayed. Four prototypes of the code-named ‘PAK-FA’ are already flying in Russia.
The plane has stealth features enabling it to be somewhat masked from enemy radars. It will have advanced features such as super-cruise, ultra-maneuverability highly integrated avionics suite, enhanced situational awareness, internal carriage of weapons (that is under-carriage weapons will not be visible) and network centric warfare
Only when the R&D contract is signed, the FGFA prototypes will be available in India. The first is slated in 2014. It will be flight-tested by Indian pilots and monitored by
Indian engineers. Two more prototypes will follow in 2017 and 2019. The last will be the final version on which the FGFA will be based.
What India wants Access to technical data and be a contributor in the research & development This will enable its teams to get vital experience.
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Ban on the sale of the plane to other countries The two countries had agreed in 2010 to develop the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) At $30 billion, it was the biggest
defence deal ever in the world.