Friday, October 18, 2013

India Unhappy with FGFA Research & Design Workshare

PMF / FGFA model on display at Aero India 2013. Photo Credit: Vijainder K Thakur

On October 18, 2013, The Economic Times reported that the IAF is unhappy that India, despite bankrolling 50% of the development cost of the FGFA, is being allocated just 15% of the research and development work for the aircraft by Russia.

The IAF expressed its disappointment at a CII event on energizing aerospace sector in India.

"We have a major opportunity in the FGFA program. At the moment it is not very much in favor of Indian development. We are flagging it through the Government. It should be much more focused towards indigenous development capability," IAF Deputy Chief Air Marshal S Sukumar said here.

The Raksha Mantri is expected to take up the issue during his visit to Russia starting November 15, 2013.

India and Russia are currently negotiating the Research and Development work share of the FGFA program. The negotiations are expected to take another year!

What is difficult to understand is how can India realistically expect a larger work share. The PMF / FGFA is based on the PAK-FA / T-50, an aircraft that is expected to start state acceptance trials in early 2014.

The FGFA will feature the same airframe, engines and main systems as the T-50, but differ in its avionics and weapon suite. Clearly, the residual R&D work is limited. What is it that India wants to research and develop?