Fifth generation Russian fighter looking for a replacement

The Indian military is looking for alternative options for equipping its air force in the event that a joint fifth-generation fighter design program with Russia will not succeed. This was reported yesterday by the Times of India, citing a source in the Ministry of Defense of India. The “leakage” most likely indicates the intention of the Indian partners to achieve the most favorable conditions for themselves.

An anonymous interlocutor of Times of India in the national ministry of defense said that the agency is analyzing the possibility of acquiring a middle class fighter 63 in addition to 126 of the same machines, the purchase of which is stipulated by the conditions of an international tender currently underway. At this step, the local military will go if the two key defense programs fail to execute in a specified time. This is the development of the fifth-generation Russian-Indian fighter PAK-FA (a promising aviation complex of front-line aviation) and the launch into mass production of the Indian light combat aircraft LCA (Light Combat Aircraft).

“If the deadlines of LCA Tedjas and indian-Russian unobtrusive PAK-FA are not met, we will purchase an additional batch of medium multipurpose combat aircraft (MMRCA, Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) to maintain the combat capability of the Indian Air Force,” the newspaper quoted its source. . It is noteworthy that the three mentioned aircraft belong to different classes, therefore, they cannot technically serve as a full replacement for each other. What unites these machines, perhaps, is only that large financial interests, both Indian and foreign, revolve around each of them.

The MMRCA tender was announced in 2007 year. The cost of the order, which the winning company will receive, is estimated at $ 10-12 billion. Russia was represented in this contest by the MiG-35, but in April of this year the Russian application was excluded from the short list of applicants, about which April MN wrote in detail. At the same time, the two aircraft offered by the United States left the tender, and the Swedish company Saab, which was promoting its fighter JAS 29 Gripen IN, dropped out of it. On the short list, Indian authorities left two European models: Typhoon, produced by the consortium Eurofighter and Rafale by the French company Dassault. They promise to make the final choice this year or early next.

LCA "Tejas" (which means "Shining" in Hindi) has been one of the symbols of the rapid technological development of India for many years. This program of creating a single-engine supersonic fighter on its own was approved by the country's government back in 1983. And the finished product, that is, the aircraft officially recognized as fit for use by the Air Force, appeared only in January 2011 of the year - almost 28 years later. At such a pace, the fears of the anonymous source of Times of India that the deployment of mass production of this model can also be delayed really have a basis.

The most recent of the defense programs of the Indian Air Force is the development of the fifth generation fighter jointly with Russia. December 21 2010 Russia and India signed a contract to develop a draft technical design of the Indian version of the PAK-FA, which was named FGFA (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft). India has pledged to invest $ 295 million in this project. The first flight of the Indian version is scheduled for the 2015 year. (The Russian prototype PAK-FA, developed by the Sukhoi design bureau, took off in January 2010 of the year.) Indian air forces are planning to buy 250-300 FGFA totaling $ 25 billion.

“Apparently, the Indians had some difficulty in negotiations with Sukhoy, and they decided to hint to their partners that they could do without them,” explained the information leakage by Konstantin Makienko, deputy director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (AST).

According to him, this publication does not have any other obvious meaning. "The fact that the order for MMRCA can be increased from 126 machines to about 190, was spoken from the very beginning of the tender," the expert points out. newsthat would be worth telling the press with such a secret. "The expert also notes that the Typhoon and Rafale aircraft that are now in the tender were developed in the 80 of the last century." The Indian military plans to use medium-sized fighters before 2050, and by that time, any of these two planes will look archaic like a platform, ”says Makienko. “Although in modern combat aviation, the platform no longer plays such a role as before, the combat capabilities of fighters are now largely determined by the level of armaments and on-board electronics, however, it is impossible to make a full replacement of the fifth generation aircraft from the aircraft of the last century.”

A similar opinion is shared by the Russian representative of the international industry magazine Flight International Vladimir Karnozov. “The contract for the development of FGFA was concluded only at the end of last year,” he recalls. “That is, the program is now at the stage of thinking. In particular, the requirements that India places on the future car are formulated in detail, the roles, rights and obligations of the parties are clarified. such a moment is not surprising that the partners use among other things and leaks to the press, trying to influence the course of negotiations. " A comment from Sukhoi, which includes the design bureau with the same name, was not available yesterday.
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