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  India   IAF chief goes to Russia with eye on fighter deals

IAF chief goes to Russia with eye on fighter deals

Published : Oct 25, 2016, 3:32 am IST
Updated : Oct 25, 2016, 3:32 am IST

Close on the heels of India and Russia inking deals valued at over Rs 72,000 core — including the S-400 Triumf missile defence systems that will be operated by the IAF and the joint manufacture of the

Close on the heels of India and Russia inking deals valued at over Rs 72,000 core — including the S-400 Triumf missile defence systems that will be operated by the IAF and the joint manufacture of the Kamov 226 T helicopters — Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha embarked on a six-day visit to Russia on Monday.

The visit is considered significant at this juncture as Russia is keen to jointly develop a fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), besides deals for the upgrade of Su30-MKI aircraft. Mr Raha’s visit is expected to see further progress.

 

Sources told this newspaper that the negotiations for the FGFA are already at an advanced stage and a final agreement may be signed anytime soon. The FGFA is expected to entail key advances in stealth capabilities, armament, speed and avionics.

By early 2017, the IAF also plans to unleash a deadly combo — the Russian-made supersonic Sukhoi fighter (Su-MKI 30) aircraft integrated with the lethal Brahmos missile. India and Russia is already collaborating in a big way in the production of the Brahmos missile. The Irkut Corporation of Russia, which manufactures the Sukhoi 30 fighter aircraft, has received immense business enquiries about the Sukhoi 30-Brahmos combo.

 

A lot of countries have already expressed deep interest into the purchase of this combination. The Su 30 MKI is India’s frontline fighter aircraft. India plans to raise three Su-MKI 30-Brahmos squadrons.

During his visit, the IAF chief will meet top military officials and discuss a wide range of bilateral issues on the ongoing defence cooperation. Mr Raha will also visit various defence establishments. His “The visit is intended to take the existing defence cooperation between the Air Forces of the two countries to the next level,” said an IAF statement.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi