Sunday, September 02, 2007

Indo-Russian G5 Fighter Agreement in Sight

In an interview to us (the Indian media delegation at the MAKS 07 air show) on August 23, MiG chief and designated chairman of the UAC Alexey Fedorov, said that the formal bilateral agreement in which India joins the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA fifth generation fighter programme will be signed "very soon". And no, this isn't another RfP-style chimera. In fact, the draft will be finalised when Defence Minister AK Antony visits Moscow in October and is almost certain to be concluded by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he follows with a visit shortly thereafter.

Russia's Pravda says that reports that construction of a pre-production model (prototype?) will begin shortly, after the design bureau has completed and attested its design phase. That means the design phase is through without any Indian involvement. Was it shown to India before the State Arms Programme in Moscow approved movement off the drawing board? Then there's the other side -- what kind of design inputs would the IAF have anyway, considering the utter mismatch as far as design experience goes when comparing Russia and India. A Group Captain who was at the MAKS 07 air show along with the Vice Chief (Air Marshal BN "Bingo" Gokhale") told me that the IAF hadn't been called upon to participate at any point in the design phase, but was not particularly disturbed about that.

Russia's first Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov also announced (once again) while we were in Moscow that the PAK-FA would take to the skies for the first time in summer of 2008. So all those moaning about the inexorable thrust towards sending our money bounding out in all directions for stuff we're going to have absolutely no contribution in, weep. The money we're going to be pouring into the PAK-FA programme is going to be seriously tidy, unless of course the Americans/Swadeshis manage to derail it in favour of non-security cooperation partnerships on the F-35 (read, shut up and buy), or the Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA). With the LCA's recent sea-level horror off Arrakonam, we should be seriously worried about what the MCA will bring us, if ever the government gets around to approving it. Either way, at that time, we'll still be paying tidy little instalments towards this nice big clutch of 4+Gen fighters we'll soon be ordering.

Sometimes I just wish things would happen really fast so I could see what happens next. Everything's just numbing now. By the way, those artist's impression pix of the PAK-FA are embarassing. One of them looks like a Tomcat with fat intakes, and the more popular one looks like an inflated Raptor with a berkut nose. Let's hope the PAK-FA looks like neither.


Vinayak G M said...

Dear Shiv Aroor-ji,

I thank you for giving report on PAK-FA... Is it single seater or twin???

Sniperz11 said...


You keep referring to the LCA sea trials as if they were a disaster. Could you write a post here explaining why thats so.. we dont have any other info otherwise.

P.S.>> Waiting for your piece about ur flight in the Mig-35 is eagerly awaited. It would be great if you could include technical specs as well.

Anonymous said...

top idiot...fighters are always single seaters...only trainers are twin

Anonymous said...

Dear Shiv Aroorji,

I think the artist impresion pic of the PAK-FA is quite impressive and probs with the picture...its very nice

Abhiman said...

In my view, it is extremely disappointing for the progress of indigenous development.

The MCA is deliberately being exterminated from any existence :-

1) No public mention of it by Mr. Inderjit Singh or Defence minister.

2) No media reports on it; PAK-FA infact has been accorded far far more coverage.

Thus, MCA is not only being ignored, it is being removed from ublic memory altogether.

The PIB reports are very similar in tone and attitude to typical Housing Society circulars (written by members educated in vernacular medium) :- Once anything is decided, it cannot be rolled back for fear of criticism amongst individual members. Even alternatives are not suggested for fear of wasting time and engaging other members for an already decided mechanism. The stigma of being viewed as a dissenter and delayer, when one is actually freely suggesting alternatives is typical in Indian WORK CULTURE.

It is this attitude that is exploited by any bureucrat who heads Government departments. The PIB report read that and I quote, "Co-development of a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft has been identified as an important area of cooperation between the Indian and Russian Government. Technical discussions to work out the details are in progress."

Anybody bringing the MCA as an alternative, would risk opposing poltically correct implications of the statement like, "important area of cooperation between the Indian and Russian Government", and others such as "joint-development of technology is a new policy of defence industry, keeping with times" (Brahmos will be cited as an absolute example).

Any non-technical MP or person in Defence Ministry would find these politically correct arguments impossible to argue against; it is compunded with the fear of being seen as an opposer.

Mr. Aroor, TV channels are very adept at sting operations and are credited with so many exposes. I humbly think you can raise this question in a TV show/series. HT already had the best coverage of yesterday's GSLV launch with Mr. D'Souza asking questions to top ISRO scientists about Helium-3 to be searched for by the Chandrayaan, and the time when India's indigenous cryogenic engine will be launched. This was a far much better than the coverages of other channels.

MCA is a very little known project. More information on it will not only be useful, but questions can be asked about the viability of purchasing foreign planes like PAK-FA. It will definitely generate viewer-interest and be exciting also.
MCA must not be like another Arjun, Tejas, or Akash.

Thank you.

Mihir said...

Anon#1: Ever heard of the F-14 or Su-30?

Mihir said...

Shiv, the "fist" looks commie :-P

harish kandpal said...

lca trials were underperforming but not failures as u make out , i wonder why u keep running down indian projects

Abhiman said...

Mr. Aroor, as part of the DRDO's excercise to improve public relations and its general perception, the media can publicize some of DRDO's lesser known projects like MCA. The viewers can take interest in knowing that India too is developing advanced near-futuristic fighter planes like those shown in Discovery channel. They will know that F-22 and F-35 are not the exclusive preserve of only the US and allies.

It cannot be called a "campaign" or a "expose", but as awareness about MCA increases, questions will invariably be raised to the Defence ministry.

As retd. Air Marshal Jayal had rightly stated, the PAK-FA till now has been constructed since many years without even a hint of any Indian involvement. He said that since it is slated to fly next year (still without any Indian involvement), it only means that the so-called joint development is nothing but a euphemism for licence production.

This is what the newspaper quoted, "Retired Air Marshal Brajesh Jayal, who once commanded the Southwestern Air Command, also felt the hype about “fifth generation” was really about marketing. He referred to Ivanov’s statement that the Russian fighter Sukhoi PAK-FA has been in the design phase for the past three years. If it flies, as reported, in 2009, it is not clear what the Indian role in the “joint design” will be, he said..


Original link from HT (link does not respond):,0008.htm

Alternate link from Pakdef forum (post #21 by Gaf)). The entire report is posted:-

Abhiman said...

Russia has explicitly confirmed that the PAK-FA is meant to be 'strictly a Russian airplane'.

The following is an excerpt from Russian Aviation news website :-

"Because some of the developers of systems and composites used in the Su-47 now are no longer part of Russia and since the PAK FA is to be strictly a Russian airplane, systems for the fifth generation fighter are being tested using the Su-47. According to Sergey Korotkov, “the solutions being developed on the Su-47 will be corroborated easily on the fifth generation airplane without additional tests.

The rest of the article describes how the Su-47 (and not any Indian company or Indian test-bed) has been used as a design platform or "flying laboratory" to further develop the PAK-FA. Thus, it has been definitely confirmed by even the Russian Sukhoi company that :-

1) The PAK-FA is and I quote, "strictly a Russian airplane".

2) The PAK-FA is also a direct descendant of the Su-47 which too has never seen any Indian participation.

Thus, the PAK-FA is just a new PURCHASE by India and not any so-called 'Joint venture' or 'collaboration' that the MoD or the IAF would like the public to believe. It is a wholly Russian airplane that takes input from another secretive plane, the Su-47 and both of them---itself and its predecessor--- have not had even a small Indian say in it, let alone any technical contribution.

Thank you.

Reference :-

The Sky Is for the “Berkut” October 3, 2007.

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