Three-year slip in FGFA

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

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.

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