India may delay its involvement in the Future Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) Project with Russia and instead focus on the acquisition of medium multi role combat aircraft(MMRCA) such as the Dassault Rafale and another lighter jet to meet the immediate requirements of the Indian Air Force.
Informed sources told Defenseworld.net correspondent that there was no forward movement on the Russian request to initiate the detailed Research and Development (R & D) contract for the project estimated to cost US$2 billion to India.
The Russian arms export agency, Rosobronexport has approached the Indian MoD several times this year but no positive response has been forthcoming, the sources said. Earlier, a section of the Indian media reported that under a Preliminary Design Contract (PDC) in December 2010, New Delhi and Moscow contributed $295 million each to finalise the fighter's basic configuration.
Following this, the R & D contract which defines the responsibilities on both sides was to be signed and work started at the beginning of this year which has not happened. Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said last month in the Indian parliament that the R&D phase of Indian Air Force’s Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project is yet to be concluded.
There have been concerns on the Indian side over the slow pace of development on the stealth fighter in Russia where it is called the PAK-FA. Unnamed IAF officials have been voicing their reservations over the capabilities of the aircraft and whether it will be a match for the US F-35 and F-22 which are the world’s only stealth fighters in service.
“The Indian involvement comes after the Russian side is ready with the basic fighter. India will place some proprietary systems and avionics and weapons systems in the craft for which it is required that the PAK-FA complete some of its certification processes”, the source said.
However, the Russian side is bullish on the performance of the PAK-FA designated as T-50 fighter for the Russian Air Force. President of the United Aircraft Corporation of Russia, Yuri Slyusar said ahead of the Paris Air Show 2015 that three more prototypes of the fifth-generation T-50 fighter will be added to the test fleet this year making up seven aircraft being used to test various parameters of the aircraft. The development team is now engaged in avionics testing and combat-mode performance tests, including weaponry integration and use.