India, Russia ink pact for development of new fifth generation fighter aircraft

November 14th, 2007 - 2:28 am ICT by admin  
Moscow, Oct18 (ANI): In a ‘landmark’ decision, India and Russia have agreed to produce and co-develop the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA).

The agreement was reached at the 7th India-Russia Inter -Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation talks in Moscow, which was co-chaired by Indian Defence Minister A K Antony and his Russian counterpart Serdyukov Anatoly.

The agreement was signed by Secretary Defence Production K P Singh and Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Foreign Military Cooperation Vyacheslav Dzirkaln in presence of Antony and Serdyukov.

The negotiations on the joint manufacturing and development of the new generation fighter aircraft have been going on for the last five years, and the present agreement inked is similar to the successful joint project of developing Brahmos supersonic cruise missile.

“It’s a major landmark, and I hope very soon we will be able to set the Inter- Governmental Agreement on co -development and co- production of multi role transport aircraft also,” Antony told reporters.

The latest project would be equally financed by India and Russia and it is estimated to cost approximately 10 billion dollars.

Antony said that issues relating to the intellectual property and specific requirement of the Indian Air Force have already been resolved.

Though Antony, refused to state when the new fighter jets would be ready to fly, Russian Air Chief, General Alexander Zelin had suggested that the FGA would make its maiden flight as early as 2009.

The fifth generation fighter aircraft would help India to have ’stealth’ aircraft, similar to that possessed by the US.

The present defence agreement signed between the two countries in 2000 comes to end in 2010, but the co-development and co-production of the new generation of fighter aircraft go beyond that.

“This will mark the start of a new strategic relationship based on greater interaction at various operational levels. Greater intensity and scope of joint military to military exercises, reciprocal training and the co-development of new weapons and equipments shall lead to meaningful military and technical cooperation between India and Russia,” Antony added.

However, he also said that are some “issues of concern” which were discussed during the joint Intergovernmental meeting.

“Issues relating to life cycle support of equipment of Russian origin and the delay in the refurbishment of Admiral Gorshkov are issues that are a cause of concern for us,” Antony said.

“These and other issues have been discussed at the various levels, and I appreciate the efforts made by the Russian side to resolve it”, he added.

The defence ties between India and Russia are termed ‘time-tested’ and close to 70 percent of India’s inventory are directly or indirectly related to Russia.

Moscow is keen on retaining the Indian market in the face of growing competition from the U.S., French and Israeli armaments majors.

Antony’s trip has set the stage for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Moscow in November for his annual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (ANI)

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