The Indian Defense Ministry is working towards inking the final Research and Development design contract with Russia this year for the Indian “perspective multi-role fighter”, a variant of the Russian single-seat FGFA called Sukhoi T-50 or PAK-FA.
India is also working on upgrading its existing Sukhoi-30MKI jets into ‘Super Sukhois’ with advanced avionics and weapons.
“Apart from resolving technical and cost issues, Russia has also agreed to allow IAF test pilots to fly its prototypes now”, said a source. The final R&D contract for the FGFA was on hold till now despite the two countries having first inked an inter-governmental agreement in 2007 and then following it up with a $295 million preliminary design contract in 2010.
Earlier reports said New Delhi had proposed that instead of commencing the detailed project report (DPR), India would pay for three prototypes and transfer of technology (TOT) instead of $6 billion for the DPR and joint production.
It is not clear if India wants to use the prototypes and TOT to set up its own production line in India.
The FGFA, also called T-50, is the most advanced aircraft to be built in Russia. It combines stealth technology with super-manoeuvrability enabling it to penetrate deep into enemy territory and conduct bombing as well as dogfight enemy planes. (Russian Aviaton/Business World Magazine)