Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia in November likely will see some possible deal on Russian-built fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) which has been pending for final agreement Since 2009.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar recently informed parliamentarians that India already has invested 1,483.15 crore ($295 million ) on the preliminary design stage of the fifth generation fighter aircraft programme which was completed in June 2013.
Indian negotiation team have asked Ministry of Defence to request Russia to deliver 3 T-50 prototypes and order few Russian Production variant of Pak-fa While India still works on R&D contract for Indian Customized FGFA variant.
IAF likely will suggest Ministry of Defence to order 65 Pak-fa to be purchased off the shelf when the aircraft will enter mass production in 2017 in 2017. but Defence Analyst believe order for Pak-fa will be much smaller then IAF’s request of 65 aircrafts so that bulk of 5th generation fighter jets are produced in India under Prime minister Modi’s ” Make in India ” initiative at Ozar facility of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) .
India Airforce team already have watched Pak-Fa aircraft up close in Russia in last few years and soon Indian test pilots will get a chance to test fly one of the T-50 Prototype soon in Russia.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to France in April this year announced the intent to get 36 Rafale jets and many Defence Analysts are also expecting similar off the shelf purchase order for Pak-fa while research-and-development contract works out, more jets can be developed as per IAF customization in India at the later date.
IAF has requirement of 144 Russian developed 5th generation fighter jet, but due to rapid fall in aircraft fleet strength due to retirement of many fighter jets, IAF had requested purchase of 60 Rafale fighter jet and 65 Pak-fa fighter jets off the shelf from respected vendors to slow down rapid decline in squadron strength, which will be at all time low of 32 squadrons by the end of this year.