India and Russia will soon sign a contract for jointly developing the much-delayed fifth-generation fighter aircraft, a top Russian official has said.
Sergei Chemezov, the CEO of Rostec State Corporation, said that all decisions over the multi-billion dollar project to jointly develop the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) will be finalised in the "nearest future". India and Russia inked an inter-governmental pact for the FGFA project in 2007.
"As for the 5th generation (fighter aircraft) - the work is underway. Stage one is over. Now we are discussing the second stage. And I think that in the nearest future, all decisions will be made and the contract documents will be signed," Chemezov told reporters on the sidelines of Russia's premier air show MAKS 2017 here.
"But the work is going, it is very complicated, so it is not going fast," said the head of Rostec, Russia's umbrella organisation of 700 hi-tech civilian and military firms. He stressed that Russia was the only country for India that without any restrictions transfers all technologies.
Chemezov's remarks came more than two months after government sources in New Delhi had said that almost all the ground work had been completed to finalise the deal for the design of the FGFA jet as well as some other critical issues.
"The contract for the detailed design would be signed soon and that will be a major milestone. It should be signed in the second half of the year," a top official involved in the negotiations with Russia on the project had said.
The official had said that both the countries are co-developers and India will have equal rights over the technology.
In February last year, India and Russia had revived talks on the project after a clearance from then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. Since then, a lot of issues related to work share, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and technology transfer among others have been sorted out between the two sides, along with the monetary commitments.
In December 2010, India agreed to pay USD 295 million towards the preliminary design of the fighter, which is called in India as the 'Perspective Multi-role Fighter' (PMF). However, negotiations faced various hurdles in the subsequent years.
Chemezov also talked about Russia's own fifth generation fighter jet programme PAK FA.
"Today one of Rostec's key project milestones is the development of the second stage engine for PAK FA. New construction solutions have been used in the development process, which are unparalleled in Russian engine building," he said.
Talking about other projects of Indo-Russia cooperation, Chemezov said apart from the Ka-226, the two sides have an enterprise that has been working for a long time producing cruise missiles Brahmos.
"They are already completely localised today. Already completely produced in India. This is one of the first projects that we implemented in India. As well as, T 90, Su-30MKI. That is a fairly large number of projects - some have already been implemented, some are being implemented," he added.