'India to ink more Sukhoi deals with Russia'
New Delhi: India and Russia are expected to ink potential defence deals amounting worth over USD 4 billion during the visit of President Vladimir Putin on December 24.
The Indian Air Force (IAF), which has a fleet of 230 Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, will be signing a deal worth USD 3.77 billion for 42 additional fighter jets. India has till now lost three Sukhoi planes in crashes - the first one in April 2009, the second in November 2009 and the third in December 2011. While two IAF pilots were killed in the first accident, two pilots each bailed out to safety in the second and third crashes.
New Delhi is also expected to ink a deal of 59 Mi-17 V5 fighter helicopters during Putin’s visit. The 59 Mi-17V5 choppers are to be used by the IAF to replace its fleet of the existing old versions of the Mi-17s and Mi-8s.
The force has started receiving the Mi-17V5s from a previous order of 80 such machines and even started deploying them at various locations including Bathinda, Srinagar and Baghdogra in West Bengal.
It is widely being anticipated that India will express its displeasure over the delay in delivery of the refurbished aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov. Defence Minister AK Antony had earlier stressed that the early delivery of the 45,000-tonne aircraft carrier was important for India.
Russia had said it would deliver the refurbished aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov to India only in the fourth quarter of 2013. Notably, it was expected to be handed over to the Indian Navy by December 04, 2012.
Earlier in October, the Indian government had given its nod for the purchase of 25,000 Invar missiles for T-90S main-battle tanks.
Besides these, India and Russia are also expected to discuss the details of fifth generation fighter aircraft.
Earlier, Russia had confirmed that that the prototype of the fifth generation fighter aircraft, being jointly developed with India, will be delivered in 2014 and its production in this country will start in 2020.