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The Times of India
August 20, 2012
India’s quest for a futuristic stealth fifth-generation fighter, which will see the country spend around $35 billion over the next 20 years in its biggest-ever defence project, has zoomed into the decisive phase now.
India and Russia are getting all set to ink the full and final design or R&D phase contract for the 5th Gen fighter by this year-end or early-2013, say sources. It will again underline India’s firm rejection of the US offer of its Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) or the F-35 ‘Lightning-II’.
Ahead of the R&D contract, under which India wants to induct over 200 stealth fighters from 2022 onwards, a senior team of Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) engineers and IAF experts is going to Russia within a fortnight to ensure that the “full documentation and other work” of the earlier preliminary design contract (PDC) has been completed.
During his visit to Moscow last week, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne reviewed the performance of the 5th Gen fighter, called Sukhoi T-50.
While the Indian fighter will primarily be based on the T-50, it will be tweaked to IAF requirements.
India had inked the $295 million PDC with Russia in December, 2010. The R&D contract on the anvil is pegged at $11 billion, with India and Russia chipping in with $5.5 billion each.
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