INDIA-RUSSIA COMMERCIAL CONTRACT FOR SUKHOI AS FIFTH GENERATION AIRCRAFT
By Bulbul Singh
13 Jan 10. After India and Russia signed an MoU in 2005 to jointly build a fifth generation aircraft, the two countries have selected Sukhoi T-50 as the first technology demonstrator for the fifth generation aircraft.
The total cost of the fifth generation aircraft project for design and development is around $10bn, which will be shared by both the countries in equal proportion and each aircraft is likely to cost around $108 million.
The aircraft will have twice the speed of sound, in the 30 tonne category and will rival the U.S. F-22 Raptor. India and Sukhoi formally began talks on the aircraft project in 2007. All talks with RAC MiG have been formally dropped and Sukhoi United Aircraft Corporation and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will jointly build the fifth generation aircraft for both the Indian and Russian forces.
“A formal commercial contract is now in the final stages of completion and inked in the next few months to formally take off nearly five years after it was inked with the MoU. The fifth generation is likely to be launched in Russia this year but the earliest induction of the aircraft
into the force will be by 2017,” said the HAL executive.
The commercial contract will also finalize the components and
sub-systems which HAL will develop. Sources in the Indian defence ministry said, no decision has yet been finalized on what the Indian scientists would develop. Indian scientists want a bigger role in the fifth generation project, but the Russians are “not willing to give away much,” added the sources.
“HAL is already license-producing Sukhoi MKI aircraft for the Indian Air Force, but HAL scientists will not be able to start from the beginning in the fifth generation aircraft design and development as India is coming into the project when nearly one fourth of the project is complete,” remarked the HAL executive. Indian scientists will participate in only around 25 per cent of the total design and development of the aircraft
The radar signature of the fight generation aircraft would be around twenty times less than that of the Sukhoi-30MKI.
“The aircraft will undergo at least 2000 hours of flying and thereafter the certification, which means that the aircraft will be ready for induction earliest by 2017. The serial production would mean another three-to-four years which will take it to the next decade,” said a senior Indian Air Force official, who was emphasizing the need to acquire newer aircraft from the overseas market and not rely solely on the fifth generation project.
HAL and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), will jointly build around 250 fighter aircraft, the two companies will have a 50:50 partnership.