Three-year slip in FGFA
The Indian Air Force officially expects to begin inducting the Indo-Russian fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) by 2017, but there’s disappointment there. Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has said in Delhi that the aircraft will be fully certified and ready for induction by 2020—three years later than the IAF has been planning for.
The IAF is looking to acquire 214 aircraft. Work has begun slowly on the Indian variant (which will be significantly different in terms of systems from the Russian base model), with HAL recently unveiling a wind-tunnel model for the modified Indian single-seat version of what the Indian Government has designated the perspective multi-role fighter (PMF) based on the Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA. The Russian test programme is already in full swing with three prototypes in the air, and a fourth to take off soon. A development contract between India and Russia is currently under negotiation and will be signed early next year, sources say. The IAF will test a total of three prototypes in 2015, 2017 and a final production version in 2019—hopefully only a year before full certification and induction.