India and Russia may finally settle on a number of delayed defense deals including the Fifth Generational Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) program during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India this December.
Putin met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the BRICS summit in July where both leaders reportedly agreed that the $30 billion program to build 200 jets should move forward.
In 2010, a preliminary design agreement was signed between India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) and Russia’s Sukhoi Design Bureau to jointly produce the FGFA for use by both countries.
However, a final agreement is still pending because the Indian Air Force hasn’t approved the design and workload between both companies is still under debate.
Sukhoi and India plan to sign another contract in the framework of the joint project for the construction of a fifth generation multipurpose combat jet, Alexander Klementyev, a Sukhoi deputy director general told Itar-Tass in August.
“We hope the contract [for experimental design works] will be signed soon,” he was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, joint productions of all future projects is expected to be the new norm in Indo-Russian relations after Moscow last year offered to set up manufacturing facilities in the country for joint production of defence hardware in emerged earlier this year.
The two countries are reportedly on the brink of signing various new defence deals this year such as the contract to integrate the Brahmos cruise missile aboard the multifunctional fighter Su-30MKI, the joint development of the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA), a $471 million contract to supply Invar Anti Tank Guided Missiles to the Indian army and a $ 3 billion deal to procure 42 new Su–30 MKI combat aircraft and 71 Mi–17V5 medium-lift helicopters.
Technology transfer issues will also figure in the talks. Russia has been unwilling to provide technology transfer of the Smerch multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) to India.
The Russia finance ministry has expressed reservation to meet Indian conditions to indigenize the production of rockets, allowing the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to produce them in India. In August 2012, a MoU was signed between the OFB and Russian companies — Rosoboronexport and Splav SPA to manufacture five versions of Smerch Rockets, according to reports.
However, the finance ministry has turned down the request for fresh rocket imports made by Ministry of Defense saying that the original permission was for local production and a fresh permission has to be sought for importing the rockets.
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy has announced a $12 billion global tender to purchase of six conventional submarines with air independent propulsion (AIP) technology under the Indian Navy’s Project 75-I.
According to local media reports, a high-level team from Rosoboronexport arrived in New Delhi in August to negotiate the sale or lease of two Amur-class subs.
Additionally, the Indian Air Force is expecting to receive tenders from private companies to upgrade the aging fleet of Russia AN-32 transport aircraft and MiG-29 fighter aircraft this month.
The IAF last year had invited bids from private parties for upgradation of AN-32 transport and MiG-29 fighter aircraft but only a single tender was received for the AN-32s.
Russia and India are reportedly planning on signing a contract to supply India with A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft, according to Beriev Aircraft Company General Director-General Designer Igor Garivadsky.