The progress of India’s futuristic fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project has fallen under dark clouds after Russia, with whom India is developing the fighter jet, hiked the cost of manufacturing the aircraft.
The project could end up costing India over $35 billion over the next two decades from the original $30 billion for over 200 fighters.
However, HAL has reportedly proposed to surrender 30 percent of its 50 percent work share – a move that has allegedly left the Indian Air Force fuming.
According to a Times Of India report, HAL is intent on developing a basic trainer aircraft (BTA) that the IAF does not need since it plans on inducting an additional 37 Pilatus trainer aircraft immediately.
“This is something we do not want to react to because it’s with the MoD that we're pursuing this project. We have provided them with the necessary contention and people can say anything they like,” a HAL spokesperson told Defenseworld.net. “Fact is, HAL does finish projects ahead of schedule if not sooner. Also, we are pursuing all our projects and nothing is on the back burner. This is a government project so we don't want to comment at this time.”
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Sukhoi Company signed a $295-million PDC contract in 2011 to develop the project also known as PAK-FA (perspective aviation complex-frontline aircraft).
In 2012, India announced that it would cut its original order of 214 by one-third and induct only 144 aircraft citing time and cost as key factors. Whereas Russian plans to take delivery of 60 jets estimated to be worth $100 million per fighter.
The FGFA will be based on the Sukhoi T-50 (which has four variants) and will be developed to suit the IAFs needs.
IAF had initially pitched for 166 single-seat and 48 twin-seat fighters but will go for only single-cockpit jets now to reduce costs as well as protect stealth features, according to the Times of India.
Currently, Russia is testing several prototypes of the T-50 aircraft, which is due to enter service with the Russian Air Force after 2017. India has expressed interest in developing some of the aircraft's computers, software, guidance systems and other systems, as it did for a similar project with Russia producing a locally-made variant of the Sukhoi Su-30MKI strike aircraft.
India and Russia are in talks on the first research and development phase. Once the agreement is signed, a first prototype will likely be delivered to India in 2014, followed by two more in 2017 and 2019.
Series production aircraft “will only be ordered based on the final configuration and performance of the third prototype,” Indian Air Force Chief NAK Browne was quoted as saying.
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
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
Russia is expecting to sign the contract with India for the research and development (R & D) stage of the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project this year. “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)said during the Aero India Air Show
HAL on Friday inaugurated Su-30 MKI repair and overhaul (ROH) project stores at Nashik, the company said in a statement. The facility was inaugurated by Secretary Defence Production, G
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. “We hope the contract [for experimental design works] will be signed soon,” he was quoted as saying
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. India and Russia agreed to set up manufacturing facilities in India for joint production of defence hardware during Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Rogozins state visit to New Delhi last year
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