Aero India 2019, Air Force Station Yelahanka: Russia is willing to come back to the negotiating table for joint development and production of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). Confirming this, Anatoly G Punchuk, the deputy director of the Russian Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, “India had decided to stop the FGFA. This programme was happening under the Inter-Governmental Agreement signed in 2009.” India decided to withdraw from the programme in 2018 due to problems related to costs involved and work share.
According to Punchuk, “The project is still open for negotiations. We are ready to come for negotiations and we hope the work will start.” “Many experts say that India is in need for FGFA and we are willing to negotiate again,” he pointed out. The primary concern of IAF was Russia’s failure to develop a next-generation engine for the FGFA to date.
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According to reports, the prototypes of the aircraft are fitted with a derivative of the Russian-made Saturn AL-41F1S engine, known as AL-41F1. As has been reported earlier, sources had told The FE that the IAF not being enthusiastic about the project maybe because their priorities are different.
A committee was constituted by the Defence Ministry to look into the details of the programme between India and Russia, which has been in pipeline since 2007. While the report submitted was on the positive side, there were concerns regarding the cost of developing four prototype fighter jets would cost around $ 6 billion, which is very high according to officials in the Defence Ministry.
India and Russia had inked an inter-governmental pact for the FGFA project in 2007. It was to be based on the Russian Sukhoi-57 or the PAK FA T-50 fighter jet. Last year, New Delhi had not ruled out ‘revisiting’ the project at a later stage, should it meet IAF requirements.
India had laid down certain conditions including extensive technology transfer, which would also have the “source codes”, which would in a way ensure that India can in the future upgrade the fighter with integration of new weapons on its own.
India is also willing to sit down for fresh round of talks provided Russia directly helps in India’s own indigenous FGFA project called the advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA).