Saturday, December 22, 2012

India to ink Rs 25,000 crore Sukhoi and helicopter deals with Russia

By Rajat Pandit, TNN | 
Dec 22, 2012, 02.37 AM IST
India to ink Rs 25,000 crore
 Sukhoi and helicopter deals with Russia
India will get another 42 Sukhoi-30MKI fighters from Russia under a new deal expected to be signed soon with the country.
NEW DELHI: India will soon ink defence deals worth around Rs 25,000 crore with Russia, including two mega ones for 42 more Sukhoi-30MKI fighters and 59 additional Mi-17 V5armed helicopters.

This will reassert Russia's position as India's largest arms supplier despite Israel, France and US now snapping at its heels. But the expected inking of the final design contract for the joint development of a futuristic stealth fifth-generation fighter will not take place during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit here on Monday since it is yet to be fully ironed out, sources said.

This R&D contract is pegged at $11 billion, with India and Russia supposed to chip in with $5.5 billion each. Each 5th Gen fighter - IAF hopes to induct around 200 of them from 2022 onwards - will cost at least $100 million extra. Consequently, as first reported by TOI earlier, India will eventually spend around $35 billion on this gigantic project.

During the meet with Putin, India will seek Russia's firm assurance that INS Vikramaditya, the refurbished 44,570-tonne Admiral Gorshkov for which $2.33 billion has been paid, is not delayed beyond the re-revised November 2013 delivery deadline.

New Delhi had earlier also planned to raise the "technical problems" being faced by its solitary nuclear-powered submarine INS Chakra, the Akula-II attack submarine leased from Russia for 10 years at a cost of around $1 billion. "But Moscow has assured the problem will be fixed soon," said a source.

The 42 new Sukhois, to be produced under licence by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics, will add to the 230 Sukhois earlier contracted from Russia. Having inducted over 170 Sukhois till now, IAF is now progressively basing these "air dominance" fighters both on the western and eastern fronts with Pakistan and China. Overall, the price tag for the 272 Sukhois - three have crashed since induction - stands over $12 billion.

The medium-lift Mi-17 V5 helicopters (59 for IAF and 12 for home ministry/BSF), in turn, will add to the 80 such choppers already being inducted under a $1.34 billion deal inked in 2008.

While India has no plans to acquire more than 272 Sukhois, it has an upgrade plan to convert a bulk of them into 'Super Sukhois' in the years ahead with more advanced avionics, weapons and AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars. "Earlier, the plan was to upgrade 80 of them into 'Super Sukhois' at the cost of around Rs 10,900 crore. Now, the plan is being re-drawn," said the source.

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