A prototype of the Sukhoi T-50 Russian fighter caught fire while landing at the Zhukovsky test base near Moscow on June 10. First reports about the mishap surfaced on local radio stations broadcasting road traffic incidents, when the fifth-generation warplane was seen trailing smoke on the approach. It was Bort number 55, the fifth and most recent T-50 prototype, which made its first flight on Oct. 27, 2013.
The contract between India and Russia to cooperate on the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile expires in February next year but is likely “to be renewed indefinitely by the end of [this] year,” an Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) official, who did not wish to be identified, told AIN. “We’re partners. It’s not for us to divulge,” Shivathnu Pillai, CEO and managing director of BrahMos Aerospace, told AIN.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has expressed concern that major aviation-related defense procurements will be delayed following the sudden death of Arun Kumar Bal, Ministry of Defense chief negotiator for air acquisitions. “It will take around three months for his replacement. This is a setback for anything the IAF is acquiring,” Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne told AIN.
There is no shortage of uncertainty about the future of Russia’s Sukhoi Perspektivniy Aviatsonnoi Kompleks-Frontovoi Aviatsii (PAK-FA)/T-50 fifth-generation fighter project. These doubts are driven by problems with major subsystems, delays with the aircraft’s introduction into service, and plans to defray some of the R&D cost by making India a developmental partner on the aircraft.
A target for criticism over delays in projects in the past, India’s largest defense manufacturer, government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is undergoing a transformation of its human resource through training and innovative programs. This is focusing on two urgent requirements–the overdue Light Combat Aircraft (LCA); and the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT).
Despite being involved in the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) joint program with Russia, India is developing a next-generation fighter of its own–the advanced multirole combat aircraft (AMCA).
The air force commanders of both Russia and India have this month discussed the progress and future schedule of the fifth-generation Sukhoi fighter project. They are keen to have their own pilots evaluate the design so that they can take a decision on further funding for the project.
Russia’s defense industry is looking this week’s Aero India show as a platform from which to bounce back from recent defeats in international tender contests.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is expected to unveil an armed variant of its Rudra advanced light helicopter (ALH) at the Aero India show this week. The helicopter will be in the flying display along with the HAL Light Combat Helicopter.
More than 10 months after India chose the French Rafale to meet its $15 billion medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) requirement, contract negotiations are mired in issues related to offsets, the transfer of technology and the role of Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL).
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