Russia is keen to maintain its position as the biggest provider of latest defence hardware to India and has once again proposed that the two countries join hands to develop the Sukhoi Su-57 5th Generation stealth fighter which can serve the air forces of the two countries for the next few decades.
"I believe that we should resume this project, Russia is open to that. We are ready and are proposing this programme to our Indian partners," Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Deputy Director Vladimir Drozhzhov was quoted as saying by TASS news agency in Moscow on July 9. He added that the Sukhoi Su-57 is an extremely capable 5th Generation multirole aircraft with unique capabilities.
Drozhzhov's statement comes a few months after Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov told the Interfax news agency in late March 2019 that the Su-57 is the latest supersonic stealth jet in the world and the Indian Air Force (IAF) would be interested in having the lethal aircraft in its fleet.
According to Manturov, India was the biggest buyer of Russian arms and the Su-57, known as Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation (PAK FA or T-50) during its development stage, would be of interest to the IAF. "Confidence in the supplier is one of the key factors when it comes to purchasing weaponry of this kind," Manturov had said.
Russia's Rostec defence industrial holding company's international co-operation and regional policy director Viktor Kladov had during the February 20-24, 2019, Aero India show in Bengaluru said they are "ready to continue the deliveries of generation 4+ and 4++ planes and for the work on the delivery of fifth-generation aircraft". "At the same time, Russia’s Air Force is a top priority for us. The plane (Su-57) has been tested in combat conditions in Syria and its deliveries to the Russian troops have begun. The Indian Air Force should determine how much this plane fits into their general concept, what their focus should be and on what money should be spent - on acquiring several models of the next-generation aircraft or on building up significantly the number of reliable Su-30 MKI planes well known to Indian pilots," he had said.
Rostec and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the makers of Su-57, had already applied for exporting the fighter and are awaiting clearance from Russian President Vladimir Putin before officially offering the jet to potential customers.
The export version will be called Su-57 E (export) and will be officially unveiled during the November 2019 Dubai Air Show. According to Klodov, too, India and China were the potential buyers of Su-57 as the IAF and PLAAF were already flying different versions of the Sukhoi fighters.
Built to dominate the skies, the Su-57 can destroy aerial, ground and on-sea targets at visual as well as beyond visual range with an array of missiles, stand-off range weapons and smart bombs. Incorporating state-of-art aerodynamics, composite materials and innovation technologies give the Su-57 stealth characteristics and low infrared signature which help it to evade detection by enemy radars and breach their air defence system.