New Delhi-Dt.29(Newsagency)-India and Russia have agreed on a Research and Development deal of fifth generation fighter jets and this project will soon see the light of day. In an interview with a daily, the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar confirmed that the project would soon be on its way. The cost of this research and development project standing at an estimated $4 billion has been sliced down a good 40% following negotiations on India’s part.
The agreement between India and Russia on the development of the fifth generation fighter jets will prove very significant as far as the defence co-operation between the two nations is concerned. Moreover India has succeeded in curbing to $4 billion, the project cost originally expected to reach $5.5 billion. The Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, during his visit to Russia last November, had had important discussions on the project. Successful negotiations followed and the project will soon be running, affirmed the Defence Minister.
India has set itself an objective of around 400 fighter jets in its Air Force by the year 2030. Four decades ago, the Air Force had a strength of 500 fighter aircrafts. However, the past decade was marked by negligence and no additions could be made to this number. Considering the possible militaristic co-operation of China and Pakistan, India must invariably add sophisticated fighter jets to its squadron strength. India is going all out on this front and to serve the purpose, has undertaken ambitious projects for manufacture of advanced fighter aircrafts. On this background, this project that co-develops fighter jets with Russia will surely prove an important step in reinforcing India’s defence front.
The first fighter aircraft that this project will produce will join the Indian Air Force about 8 years after the project gets on the way. Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has to date spent Rs 1,483 crores on the preliminary design. The Indian Air Force has suggested more than 30 modifications in the existing prototype of the fighter aircrafts and expects also, the effective ‘Stealth’ technology that remains invisible to or deceives radar tracking along with other very sophisticated technology.
With the completion of this project, the future requirement of these sophisticated fighter jets by the Indian Air Force, will be taken care of. Moreover, in the coming times, India also visions the requirement of transport aircrafts, refuelers and even trainer aircrafts; and this joint project with Russia is set to play a major role in fulfilling all these requirements.
Meanwhile, the Indian Defence Minister has informed that India is to receive three squadrons of ‘Sukhoi’ from Russia and will help keep the strength of the Indian Air Force fully operational.