India may look at sealing the Russian stealth fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) deal as negotiation on Rafale fighter MMRCA deal is still facing deadlock, Times of India reported today quoting unnamed sources close to the Defense Ministry.
"Faced with continuing deadlock in the mega deal to acquire 126 French Rafale fighters, India is now pressing the throttle to seal the even bigger project with Russia for the stealth fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA)," the newspaper reported.
"India will overall spend around $25 billion on the FGFA project if it goes ahead with its plan to induct 127 such fighters, TOI had reported earlier.
“A contract for the R & D phase is being prepared and is expected to be signed this year,” Yuli Slyusar, President and Chairman of the Management Board of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) had said during the Aero India Air Show.
“The export version of the 5th generation fighter, the perspective multi-functional fighter (PMF-FGFA) is being created in partnership with India. The Russian and Indian parties have generally agreed on the work share of each party,” he had said.
However, early this month, Eric Tappier, Dassault CEO said that Dassault Aviation and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will be ‘joint prime contractors’ to manufacture 118 Rafale fighters in India clearing the way as to who will assume responsibility for timely delivery and quality of the aircraft.
The decision on naming both companies’ as ‘joint prime contractors’ was described by Trappier as a ‘new development’ implying that it may have been arrived at during the last few days or weeks.
If this is correct, then the last big hurdle to clear the US $20billion deal is on its way to be ironed out.