India and Russia have generally agreed upon the amount and division of work during the research and development (R&D) stage of the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project.
A contract for the R&D phase is being prepared and expected to be signed this year, said Yuli Slyusar, president and chairman of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) at Aero India 2015 in Bengaluru.
“The Russian and Indian parties have generally agreed on the work share of each,” said company officials but refused to divulge specific details at this stage.
The work share of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been a contentious issue as the project will have equal investment between India and Russia and is likely to cost over $30 billion for about 400 aircraft. India plans to induct 144 of them.
But HAL’s share in the work has been limited to a meagre 13 per cent so far which will not build any critical technological gains. Both sides have been holding discussions to sort this out before the final agreement.
FGFA is crucial for Indian Air Force’s evolving structure as was recently acknowledged by the air chief recently. The final announcement could come later this year with President Pranab Mukherjee visiting Moscow in June, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expected to visit Russia twice.