Even as Russia offered a cheaper deal on the PAK-FA fifth generation fighter aircraft, the Indian Air Force feels that it is still too expensive even at this price.
Russia last week, offered to slash price of its new Sukhoi T-50 (PAK-FA)’s technological know-how under the FGFA from $6 billion to $3.7 billion to India. Under the new offer, India will have to pay $3.7 billion, instead of $6 billion, for the technological know-how and three prototypes of PAK FA fighters.
The Indian Air Force however remains opposed to the idea. A senior IAF official was quoted as saying by Indian Express news daily last week that, “We are not in favour of the FGFA. The PAK FA fighter is too expensive at even this rate, and we are not sure of its capabilities.”
India is concerned about the fighter jet’s stealth capabilities, avionics and the engines as the current NPO Saturn AL-41F1 engines are not adequate to power the jet, National Interest news daily reported Tuesday.
Russian air force is planning to buy only 12 of these fighter aircraft until it develops powerful engines and is continuing production of advanced Su-30 and Su-35 Flanker variants. This signals that Russia itself doesn’t have faith in the T-50, the news daily reported.
However sources familiar with the development said that having spent INR 1500 crore (US$2.4 billion approx) on the FGFA's preliminary design, India does not have the option of walking out of the project. Also, India needs a fifth generation fighter to counter similar developments in China and many US allies in line to receive the F-35.