India, Russia sign deal for another 42 Sukhoi combat planes

The new deal comes a week after an Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKI crashed near Pune in Maharashtra following which the entire fleet of 120 planes in six squadrons has been grounded while the case of the accident is investigated.

The deal was among five pacts signed after delegation-level talks between visiting Indian Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The agreement was signed by Indian Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, who is part of the prime minister's delegation, and Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Director M.A. Dmitriev here in the presence of Manmohan Singh and Medvedev.

India had in the mid-1990s signed an agreement with Russia for buying 50 twin-seater Sukhois off-the-shelf that were delivered beginning 1997.

In 2000, the two sides had signed another deal for licensed production of 140 Su-30MKIs by defence public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

In 2007, a protocol was envisaged for manufacture of a further 40 Sukhois.

"The present protocol envisaged manufacture of an additional 42 aircraft by HAL, taking the total Sukhois for the IAF to 272 planes," Sharma told IANS.

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