Moscow: Russia`s fifth generation fighter
aircraft will be `cheaper and superior` to the American
version, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is understood to have
told Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma during a
Russia`s Sukhoi Corporation is developing the fifth
generation fighter in partnership with the Hindustan
Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to compete with the US F-22 Raptor,
so far the world`s only fifth-generation fighter, and the F-35
Sharma, who at the end of his three-day Russia visit
had a 75-minute meeting at Putin`s countryside residence
Novo-Ogoryovo yesterday, conceded that defence projects were
discussed with Putin, but declined to speak on the subject.
During parleys with Sharma, Putin was also assisted by
Deputy Industry Minister Denis Manturov, who looks after
defence projects with India.
Their meeting took place just two days after Putin`s
visit to the nearby Zhukovski base to watch the flight trials
of the FGFA prototype T-50, developed by the fighters division
of Sukhoi Corporation.
It is designed to compete with the US F-22 Raptor, so
far the world`s only fifth-generation fighter, and the F-35
Last Thursday, after watching the test flight of the
T-50 prototype during his visit to Zhukovski base near here,
Putin had said the fighter will be superior to similar US
aircraft, as the late start of the project proved a "boon in
disguise" and its specifications would be better and it would
come about three times cheaper.
"The requirements we are setting for this plane are
well above those for the US fifth-generation aircraft and it
would be 2.5-3 times cheaper," Putin had said in his televised
Russia has already spent around USD 1 billion on the
project and another billion dollars would be required to
complete it, after which the engine, weaponry and other
components would be upgraded.
Russian Air Force is expected order at least 50
fifth-generation fighters from 2016. India is expected to have
a mix of single seater fighters originally designed for Russia
and an exclusively designed lighter, two-seater version for
the Indian Air Force. The fighter will have a service life of
Under the October 2007 inter-governmental agreement
HAL has been identified as the partner for Russia`s Sukhoi
Corporation, part of the state-controlled United Aircraft
Corporation (UAC) for developing the joint FGFA on the basis
of Sukhoi`s PAK FA project.
Sukhoi and HAL are to go ahead with the project,
without waiting for additional agreement on setting a Joint
Venture as its clearance has got stuck in the red tape, a top
official of the designer had said.
"The 2007 intergovernmental agreement provides
framework for launching the joint development without waiting
for JV deal," Sukhoi CEO Mikhail Pogosyan was quoted as saying
by local media.