On Oct. 10, during a visit to Dehli, Russian Defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced that India will begin production of an export version of the Sukhoi T-50 stealth fighter by 2020.
According to an article by RIA Novosti, Serdyukov said: “The technical characteristics have been confirmed to our (Russia and India) defense ministries. We propose serial production of the plane should start by 2020.”
The RIA Novosti article doesn’t say how many T-50s India intends to build but an article written in the Times of India suggests a figure of 200 aircraft. Indian Air Force (IAF) should get its first prototype during 2014 with a further two arriving at Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) Ozar facility at Nashik during 2017 and 2019 respectively, and flown by IAF test pilots soon afterwards.
These Indian versions of the plane will be based on the T-50 but will be tweaked for service in the IAF that will operate the new aircraft in addition to the 126 Dassault Rafale aircraft being procured as part of the MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) project.
In addition to the above, Russia has also announced that it has handed India a contract for a further batch of 42 Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters with the improved active electronically-scanned array radar system installed, a modified electronic warfare system and the ability to fire the land-attack variant of the BrahMos, the Russian-Indian cruise missile. Moscow hopes the contract will be signed by the end of 2012.
Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com
Image credit: The Aviationist’s Tony Lovelock
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