India to get 250-300 advanced jets co-developed with Russia (Lead)October 7th, 2010 - 6:47 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS) India and Russia will soon sign a multi-billion dollar agreement to co-develop an advanced stealth fighter of which the India Air Force (IAF) will get about 250-300, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said here Thursday after talks with his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov.Antony, at a joint press conference with Serdyukov, said the two countries agreed that the India would get the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) and 45 transport planes, also to be developed jointly with Russia.
“India will receive 250-300 most advanced FGFAs,” Antony said.
“These two projects are the major achievements of this year, and for the next 10 years these two projects, MTA (medium transport aircraft) and FGFA, will be a shining example of India and Russian defence cooperation.”
Antony said the proposal for the final agreements to be signed “within a few months” was pending with the government of India “for some technical formalities”.
“All the issues have (been) discussed and solved between the two countries Now it is in the final stages of the Indian government (because of some) some technical formalities I am sure we will be able to complete them,” he said.
An official who did not want to be named said the preliminary design contract for the FGFA was likely to be inked during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s proposed visit to India in December.
The 30-tonne stealth aircraft — each priced at around $100 million — will have very advanced avionics, stealth to increase survivability and enhanced lethality, according to IAF officials.
Sedyukov said the FGFA and MTA project would be completed as per jointly agreed “time frame and final proposal will be signed soon”.
On the MTA project, Antony said the two countries have already signed a shareholding agreement between Russian aircraft major Sukhoi and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
The twin-engine MTA, fitted with modern avionics, is a 15-20 tonne payload capacity aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of up to 65 tonnes and a cruise speed of 800 kmph. The total development cost is estimated at over $600 million, to be equally shared by both sides.
India and Russia share a long standing defence and strategic partnership that goes back to the Cold War era.
“In the area of defence, Russia is our trusted partner for a long time and will remain so in the future also,” Antony said after his talks with Serdyukov.
About the delays in acquiring military hardware from Russia, including the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, Antony said all these issues “were discussed threadbare and most of the issues we have arrived at satisfactory solutions”.
“In the remaining issues, the Russian defence minister has personally assured me that he will take personal interest to find satisfactory solutions at the earliest. I am happy about the outcome of the discussions,” he said.
Serdyukov said India and Russia have a “great volume of military and technical projects”.
“It is quite natural to have some delays. But I will underscore that there are no critical delays in our projects. I have also raised a number of issues today with my Indian colleague, he promised to scrutinize and I will do the same on my side in order to tackle the problems mentioned by India.”
Serdyukov arrived in India Wednesday for the 10th annual meeting the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation.
The focus of the meeting, jointly chaired by Antony and Serdyukov, was on extending beyond 2020 the existing bilateral agreement on military-technical cooperation.
Serdyukov is be accompanied by a delegation of Russian defence ministry and industry representatives.
The commission’s sessions are held annually and alternate between New Delhi and Moscow.
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