Moscow cancels Sukhoi T-50 show

Fighter jet made its debut at the Moscow air show last month

jet set fly: A Sukhoi T-50 which is to be evolved into the Indo-Russia fifth generation fighter aircraft. file photoAt the last minute, Moscow has cancelled the display of the plane which is to be evolved into Indo-Russia fifth generation fighter aircraft.

During his three-day tour of Russia beginning Monday, the defence minister was to see the flying of the T-50 (PAK-FA), which made its debut at Moscow air show last month. But Russia has called off the flight though reasons are unknown, defence ministry sources said. A flying display was shown to the previous Indian Air Force chief P V Naik in July.

The two countries signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement last year for joint design, development and production of FGFA involving Sukhoi Design Bureau on the Russian Side and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on the Indian side. Progress made in the project so far will be reviewed during Antony's visit.

India is likely to spend close to $ 36 billion (approximately 1.8 lakh crore) to develop and finally produce the gen-next fighter planes. The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to induct 250-300 of them by 2030.

“This is the biggest defence programme ever in the history of India involving production of over 250 aircraft,” Hindustan Aeronautics Limited had stated the project after inking the design contract.

At the moment, only the US has a fifth generation fighter, F-22 (Raptor), and trial is on with F-35. China, too, is developing its own fifth generation version. If things go as planned, the IAF may have its first FGFA with better manoeuvrability and higher strike rate by 2020.

Antony will co-chair the 11 meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation with his Russian counterpart AE Serdyukov. In addition to the bilateral mechanism, the visit is also meant for preparing the ground for Prime Minister's visit to Russia later this year.

The two sides will also deliberate on issues related to licensed manufacture and maintenance of T-90 Tanks and Su-30 MKI Aircraft in India. Progress made in other important projects like Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, three stealth frigates as a follow-up to the Talwar class and multi-role transport aircraft will come up for discussion.


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