India is ready to reconsider its decision on joint development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) with Russia if an appropriate cost sharing formula is arrived at.
Although India has conveyed to Russia its unwillingness to go ahead with the FGFA m due to high cost involved in the project, the negotiations between the two countries have not yet been shelved, Official sources were quoted by PTI as saying Sunday.
India was ready to have a re-look at co-development of the jet if an appropriate cost sharing formula was arrived at, sources said.
India and Russia had signed an inter-governmental agreement for the mega project in 2007, vowing to take the military ties between the two strategic partners to the next level.
However, the project has been stuck for the last 11 years as there have been serious differences between the two sides on sharing cost of developing the jet, technologies to be used in it and number of aircraft to be produced.
The sources said the cost of the project has been estimated at around $30 billion or Rs 2 lakh crore.
“Our position on various aspect of the project, including the cost component, has been conveyed to the Russian side and there has been no resolution to the issues yet,” a top official involved in the negotiations with the Russia over the project said.
In December 2010, India had agreed to pay $295 million towards the preliminary design of the fighter jet. Later, both sides had expressed intent to contribute each $6 billion for final design and production of the aircraft in the first phase. However, they could not come out with a final agreement on it.
“We have not closed our door on the project,” the sources said.
It is learnt that India was insisting on equal rights over the technology to be used in the aircraft but Russia was not ready to share all the critical technologies of the plane with New Delhi.
In the negotiations for the project, India had insisted that it must get all the required codes and access to critical technology so that it can upgrade the aircraft as per its requirements, sources said.
In February 2016, both the countries had revived talks on the project after a clearance from then defence minister Manohar Parrikar.
Sources said both sides were attempting to thrash out the sticky issues but added that India was not optimistic that the project will fructify due to cost involved in the project.
Interestingly, state-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is strongly pitching for the fifth-generation fighter jet project. The HAL feels the multi-billion dollar project will provide India a significant opportunity to encourage its aerospace sector as no country has ever offered such critical technologies to India.
There have been indications from the Indian Air Force that it was not very keen to pursue the project in view of the high cost.
Indian Sukhoi fighter jet manufacturing facility, Nashik based Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) can be used for building fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), if the government decides to go ahead with the proposed Indo-Russian joint venture, HAL Chairman and Managing Director T Suvarna Raju has said. The facility will not require any major investment to reconfigure it to produce the FGFA, Raju told PTI Sunday
India will sign the final research and development contract with Russia for the fifth-generation fighter aircraft only if there is full-scale transfer of technology and added benefits. The decision has been taken at the highest levels in order to not repeat the mistakes of the entire Su-30MKI jet acquisition program from Russia that cost 55,717 crore to India without any tangible help in developing indigenous fighter-manufacturing capabilities,”
India and Russia still need to discuss certain things in the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) such as exports and approvals post manufacturing. “Some issues are to be addressed in terms of manufacturing after completing the project
India has sought clarity on stealth technology and rights over export to third countries before signing a detailed design and development contract on Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). Both the countries are expected to sign the contract in the coming two-three months
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