NEW DELHI — Senior Indian Air Force officials say they are finding holes in the agreement their government signed Oct. 18 with Russia for joint production of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft.br /The Air Force prefers to get involved in the project from the beginning of the design stage, but the Russians say the design of the proposed fifth-generation aircraft is frozen, Air Force sources said.br /Being involved from the start would allow the Air Force to introduce its own requirements into the design process and to become familiar with the design of the aircraft they propose to fly, a senior service official said.br /Another Air Force official agreed, noting that so far, even the service’s Staff Qualitative Requirements have not been finalized.br /In addition, the Air Force says India should not contribute more than $2 billion to the joint project, but the proposed deal calls for an Indian contribution of about $5 billion — half of the estimated $10 billion cost, according to Air Force officials.br /No details have yet been released as to how many aircraft would be built for India and Russia through the agreement.br /A diplomat with the Russian Embassy here said the two governments have signed the fifth-generation fighter agreement, but Indian state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) and Russia’s Sukhoi Design Bureau have yet to sign.br /The first prototype of the aircraft is projected to be test-flown by 2015, the diplomat said.br /“We are willing to participate in the fifth-generation aircraft, but we will invest only $2 billion on our side in the development of the fighter,” a senior HAL official said.br /India and Russia signed the intergovernmental agreement to jointly develop and produce the futuristic, multirole stealth fighter, based on Sukhoi’s super-secret PAK-FA project, in Moscow on Oct. 18.br /Indian Air Force officials said the aircraft will be a variant of the T-50 aircraft from Sukhoi.br /However, the Air Force has already committed about $6 billion to acquire the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI and should not buy more than one type of Sukhoi aircraft, said Surya Pal Singh, a retired Air Force commodore. India is buying 40 Su-30 MKIs, and HAL will build another 140 under license in India.br /India also was offered a variant of the MiG aircraft for the fifth-generation fighter project. It is still not clear how Sukhoi was selected.br /The Russians, for lack of funds, have wanted to collaborate with India on the fifth-generation aircraft. The fighter will be flown by both the Russian and Indian Air Forces.
Indian AF Faults Fighter Pact With Russia
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