In­dia’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in FGFA un­cer­tain

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation & Defence Inindia -

Ac­cord­ing to reliable re­ports, In­dia’s plans to par­tic­i­pate in joint de­vel­op­ment of the Rus­sian Fifth Gen­er­a­tion Fighter Air­craft (var­i­ously known as the PAK-FA or T.50 and now of­fi­cially the Su-57, as de­picted in the paint­ing above) have been fi­nally aban­doned. The two coun­tries had agreed in 2007 that HAL would part­ner the Sukhoi De­sign Bureau in fur­ther de­vel­op­ing and then man­u­fac­tur­ing this stealth fighter for the In­dian Air Force, and team of HAL engi­neers were sec­onded to Sukhoi in this con­text. The Gov­ern­ment of In­dia had also paid an ini­tial $300 mil­lion for cer­tain doc­u­men­ta­tion but un­cer­tain­ties con­tin­ued, not the least be­cause of the scope of de­sign & de­vel­op­ment as also the IAF’s re­duced re­quire­ment (halved to some 140 air­craft) and some short falls in per­for­mance but most im­por­tantly, un­cer­tainty in num­bers re­quired by the Rus­sian Air Force it­self.

An Ex­perts Com­mit­tee headed by Air Mar­shal (re­tired) S Varthaman opined in 2017 that the FGFA pro­gramme would be com­ple­men­tary, and not com­pet­i­tive to the Ad­vanced Medium Com­bat Air­craft (AMCA) which is to be In­dia’s fifth gen­er­a­tion fighter devel­oped by ADA at Ban­ga­lore. It is un­der­stood that fi­nan­cial lim­i­ta­tions may have fi­nally swung the case in favour of the AMCA, as also the In­dian Gov­ern­ment’s sup­port of build­ing in­dige­nous ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, In­dian NSA Ajit Do­val, who at­tended the re­cent meet­ing in Moscow along with De­fence Sec­re­tary San­jay Mi­tra con­veyed this de­ci­sion to their coun­ter­parts; how­ever, that In­dia might pos­si­bly join the pro­ject later or pro­cure the fi­nally devel­oped fighter af­ter it has en­tered ser­vice with the Rus­sian Air Force.

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