New Delhi: Top Defence sources said that India is looking to ink a bigger project with Russia for the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA).
Sources said that India has told Russia that it wants deliveries of the FGFA in 36 months after the main contract is inked instead of the 94 months, as predicted earlier.
Times of India reported that with this accelerated delivery time, India has said that it is ready to forego the earlier plan for a 50:50 design and work-share agreement with Russia on its under-development FGFA called PAK-FA or Sukhoi T-50.
India is also not insisting that all the single-seat stealth fighters be built by its defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
India will overall spend around USD 25 billion on the FGFA project if it goes ahead with its plan to induct 127 such fighters. The fate of final FGFA design contract is hanging since India and Russia completed their initial work under the USD 295 million preliminary design contract signed in December 2010.
This has come after the continuous deadlock in the mega deal to acquire 126 French Rafale fighters. Last month, India's Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar had met his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Delhi where discussions centred on whether India will buy 126 Rafale jets from France or not. The plan is for France to supply 18 fully-made fighter jets to India, with the other 108 being produced by HAL. There is also an option for India to acquire 63 more Rafale jets.
The IAF is facing sharp decline in the number of fighter jets and hence it wants to fast-track the FGFA project.
Both sides are now working to break the ice since India wants to take a final call on over USD 20 billion medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) project before Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits France in early-April.