Russian leader Putin in Delhi; Defence deals worth Rs 25,000 crore signed
India and Russia on Monday inked mega defence deals worth almost Rs 25,000 crore, including the ones for 42 more Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters and 71 additional Mi-17 V5 armed helicopters, which again reinforces Moscow's position as New Delhi's largest arms supplier.
With Russian President Vladimir Putin in India for a summit with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the two countries inked the over Rs 16,000 crore deal for 42 Sukhois, which will add to the 230 Sukhois earlier contracted, and the one for 71 Mi-17 V5 helicopters (59 for IAF and 12 for BSF), to add to the 80 of these choppers already been inducted.
India will now not order any more Sukhois -- the 272 of them come at an overall price tag of over $12 billion with a bulk of them being produced by Hindustan Aeronautics -- but is preparing a plan to upgrade them into "Super Sukhois" in the years ahead with more advanced avionics, weapons and AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars.
India and Russia will also ink the final design contract for the joint development of a futuristic stealth fifth-generation fighter at a later stage since it is still being drafted. This R&D contract is pegged at $11 billion, with the two countries 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.
Russia has also assured India that INS Vikramaditya, the refurbished 44,570-tonne Admiral Gorshkov for which $2.33 billion has been paid, will not be delayed beyond the re-revised delivery deadline of November 2013. The "technical problems" being faced by India's solitary nuclear-powered submarine INS Chakra, the Akula-II attack submarine leased from Russia for 10 years at a cost of around $1 billion, will also be sorted out soon.
- Asian Tribune -