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India-Russia 5th Gen Fighter project appears to be stuck : Def Min Report

A long-delayed programme for a fifth generation fighter aircraft that India and Russia were to develop together seems to have hit rough weather, as Defence Ministry feels it may turn out to be too expensive.

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.

The committee recently submitted a report on the programme to the ministry and as per it, 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.

India has earlier also told the Russian side that the project's cost was too high, and had also discussed buying the Su-57 fighters.

In December 2010, India had agreed to pay $295 million towards the preliminary design of the fighter, also referred to as 'Perspective Multi-role Fighter' (PMF).

However, negotiations faced various hurdles in the subsequent years.

There were several disagreements between New Delhi and Moscow, including on work and cost share, aircraft technology, as well as the number of aircraft to be ordered.

After evaluating the first PAK FA T-50 prototype (the Russian prototype of the PMF), the Indian Air Force (IAF) wanted more than 40 changes addressing, among other things, perceived weaknesses in the plane's engine, stealth, and weapon-carrying capabilities.


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