Sunday, May 29, 2011

IAF Chief views Pak FGFA T-50 test flight

The  heat is on. India is taking urgent measures to secure its already "troubled neighbourhood" ,as Home Minister P. Chidambaram put it.

The head of the Indian Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik attended a flight demonstration of the newest Russian fighter aircraft, the Sukhoi T-50 (PKA FA) at Gromov Flight Research Institute at the city of Zhukovsky near Moscow. The demonstration also included a flight of the modernized MiG-29UPG, an upgraded version destined for the Indian Air Force, to introduce an avionics suite common with the MiG29K/KUB carrier-based fighters India is buying for its aircraft carriers. 

The Prototype of the Pak T-50 FGFA 

The Indian Air Force commander was hosted by Mikhail Pogosyan, President of the United Aircraft Corporation, General Director of Sukhoi and RSK MiG, and representatives of the Russian arms export conglomerate Rosoboronexport.

India and Russia are cooperating in the development of a 5th generation fighter under the ‘Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) program, to be based on the T-50, to be the largest cooperative project undertaken by the two countries. The cooperation agreement was signed on 18 October 2007 in Moscow and reiterated in December 2010, during the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to India. Under the FGFA program, Rosoboronexport company, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Sukhoi signed the development agreement, covering the design, development, and necessary production engineering preparing for manufacturing of the aircraft in both countries.

The modernized MiG-29UPG avionics suite selected for the indian upgrade includes a unique collection of systems provided by Russian, Indian French and probably Israeli suppliers, enabling the new aircraft to integrate with the Indian air defense command and control network and operate specific weapon systems. The Indian avionics suppliers mentioned by the official announcement include HAL and Bharat Electronics Ltd. Names of the French suppliers or identity of Russian or Israeli companies was not available.  Delivery of the first upgraded aircraft to the customer in 2011.
The visit was first high level interaction between Russian and Indian officials after Russia lost the race for the IAF’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) last month, with its Mig-35 which did not meet the Indian Air Force`s 643 specifications.
The Pak T-50 FGFA is seen as an attempt to radically change the aerial warfare metrics in India`s favour, with its aggressive stealth and avionics capabilities, which lead many to compare it as the Asian version of the F-22 raptor.


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