An Indo-Russian project to develop a fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) is in force as per agreed terms and conditions, Russia’s Rosoboronexport has asserted.
“In connection with media reports on the project of the Russian-Indian 5th generation aircraft, the Russian-Indian agreement is in force and there are obligations, under which the joint project on creating the 5th generation aircraft will be executed by the parties in accordance with the agreed terms and stages,” a Rosoboronexport statement said today.
According to a report in the US-based ‘Defense News,’ senior IAF officers are concerned that the FGFA will not meet requirements including stealth. Major structural changes would be required that cannot be met in the existing Russian prototypes. Consequently, “the IAF is not keen to continue with the program,” an unnamed senior IAF official was quoted as saying.
However, HAL Chairman and Managing Director T Suvarna Raju said the co-development project with Russia will be an opportunity as no country has ever offered such critical technology to India.
"It is an opportunity for the industry as well as for the country. This is an opportunity for us to go in for this kind of (high) technology which has not been offered to us by any other country (except Russia)," he was quoted as saying by PTI on Monday.
Though based on the Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-gen stealth fighter (previously PAK-FA), the FGFA will include a total of 43 improvements over its Russian cousin, including stealth, super-cruise, advanced sensors, networking and combat avionics.
Two prototypes will be developed, one by Russia and one by India. The Indian version will be a two-seater for pilot and weapon systems operator.
Reports earlier this said that India found the project ‘too expensive’ after the Russian side demanded US$6 billion to complete the prototype stage.
India’s need for a fifth generation fighter with advanced stealth characteristics has increased after China announced the induction of its home-developed fifth-generation fighter, the J-20.