M A I N   N E W S

Fifth Gen Aircraft to match US F-22 Raptor
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
In a clear indication of balancing out the global ‘power equation’, India formally signed a deal with Russia to co-develop and co-produce a next generation fighter aircraft here today. This comes close on the heels of a series of multi-billion dollar contracts with the US for the supply of transport planes, reconnaissance aircrafts 
and VVIP jets.

Costing nearly $ 100 million (Rs 500 crore approx) a piece, the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) will technologically match the US developed F-22 Raptor — that costs $ 330 million a piece. At present, the USA is the only country having such technology and it does not share it with its closest allies like the UK.

For India it will be biggest defence programme in its history with almost $ 36 billion (Rs 1,80,000 crore) being pumped in on development, design and production spread across two decades starting now.

The FGFA will be the IAF’s frontline fighter from 2020 onwards and some 300 of these fighters which will cost $ 30 billion (Rs 1,50,000 crore). This alone will be nearly three times the much-hyped $ 11 billion deal for the purchase of 126 fighters being currently bid by six global companies. Sources said once the design is set, the total cost of designing, infrastructure build-up, prototype development, flight testing and the like has been pegged at around $ 11 billion, with both sides putting in $5.50 billion each.

The FGFA will have advanced features such as stealth, super-cruise, ultra-manoeuvrability, highly integrated avionics suite, enhanced situational awareness, internal carriage of weapons and Network Centric Warfare capabilities.

A contract for preliminary design of the plane was signed here yesterday between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Russian firms Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi. The contract is for $ 295 million and the scientists and engineers have been given 18 months to come up with a design. 

Fact file

l FGFA will be the IAF’s frontline fighter from 2020 onwards

l Some 300 of these fighters which will cost $30 billion (Rs 1,50,000 crore)

l The broad scope of cooperation during the joint project covers design, development, production and joint marketing of the FGFA 








Medvedev says Russia and US working to reduce nukes 
Shiv Kumar/TNS

Mumbai, December 22
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, on a state visit to India, today told students and faculty of IIT Mumbai that his country and the US have long abandoned superpower rivalry and were looking towards reducing nuclear weapons.

“I hope US President Barack Obama succeeds in convincing his senate to ratify the new strategic arms reduction treaty (START),” Medvedev said in a reply to a query by students.

Under the START treaty signed between Medvedev and Obama earlier this year, both USA and Russia would reduce the number of nuclear weapons held by them from 2,200 to 1,550 each. The agreement will come into effect as soon as the US senate ratifies the treaty. Medvedev who called for global reduction of nuclear weapons of mass destruction, however, did not think that such moves would happen quickly.



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