Nov 10, 2014

Fifth-gen fighter: India asks Russia to resolve FGFA tech-sharing, costing

In what could be a sign of fatigue in a long-lasting military relationship, India has conveyed to Russia that it cannot carry on with the proposed project to jointly develop and manufacture the next generation of fighter jets till Moscow addresses concerns about technology sharing and costing.
India and Russia are on the verge of inking one of the biggest defence manufacturing deals to develop and produce the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). Its research and development (R&D) will cost $11 billion with India paying half of it. This will be followed by a potential $30 billion deal to make some 200 planes for the Indian Air Force. As negotiations have dragged on for four years since the FGFA was first announced, India has raised issues of technology; its transfer; New Delhi’s role in development of the plane and the actual per-unit cost of the plane.
New Delhi says since it is paying 50 per cent of the cost, it should be doing half the work on the FGFA. At present, the Defence Ministry-owned public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) — under the proposal — is mandated to do only 13 per cent of the work.
India has asked Russia to convey the tentative cost on per-plane basis. Since six prototypes are flying, this would not be a problem. But so far, there has been no answer, a source said. The intellectual property rights of the plane would be held by Russia, which has so far, refused to fit HAL-supplied pieces without certification, meaning if India has to re-fit its own pieces, it will need the nod from Moscow.

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