MOSCOW (Sputnik) — India is looking to pursue a large-scale joint project with Russia for stealth Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), following a standoff with France over a deal to acquire its Rafale jets, the Times of India reported Monday citing defense sources.
In 2012, French Dassault Aviation won a bid to supply 126 Rafale fighter jets to India. Last month, the Indian Defense Ministry said that the $10-billion deal was too expensive, but is yet to cancel it.
According to the media outlet, New Delhi told Moscow that it wants shipments of the FGFA to commence in 36 months, once the contract is signed, not 94 as originally planned. The earlier delivery time would facilitate a work-sharing agreement with Russia on developing the FGFA, a derivative of Russia’s Sukhoi T-50 jet, the newspaper reported.
“We have agreed to a lesser work-share for a realistic contract, with the initial lot of the FGFA being imported and the rest being made here under technology transfer,” the source said.
Earlier, Indian media reported that India could withdraw from the Rafale deal and instead go for cheaper and more reliable Russian-designed Su-30s.
According to the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, the vast majority of weapons and military equipment used by the Indian armed forces have been produced by Russian or Soviet manufacturers. India is also Russia’s biggest arms trade partner.