India and Russia's joint defense project, the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) which is said to be the most advanced version of jet planes, will be launched in India by 2014, Press Trust of India reported.
The two countries are expected to sign a $11 billion contract for research and development of FGFA project in the near future. India has a plan to obtain 214 of these jets by the end of 2030 with a reckoned cost over $30 billion.
Last year, Russian media reported that the development of FGFA will cost Russia and India over $6 billion, with India contributing about 35 percent of the cost. The two nations were said to have agreed on a design contract for the FGFA on Sept 11, 2010, and the contract was reportedly signed last year.
IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said the first prototype will be unveiled in India by 2014 and the country is expected to get the second and third prototypes in 2017 and 2019 respectively. Three of Russia's already developed archetypes of the aircraft are being used for test-flights in the country.
The IAF Chief was in Russia in the second week of August to review the progress made in the programme and to also oversee the prototype developments by Sukhoi Design Bureau at Zhukovsky.
"The first prototype of the FGFA is scheduled to arrive in India by 2014 after which it will undergo extensive trials at the Ojhar air base (Maharashtra)...we are hopeful that the aircraft would be ready for induction by 2022," N A K Browne told the Indian news agency.
He further added that the final version of the aircraft for operational services would be developed after examining the performances of the test-flights.
The fifth generation jet fighters have all aspects of stealth technology and would be relatively smaller than the Su-30 MKI. The initial version of the fighter plane will also have supercruise sensors and networking features.
Meanwhile, India is also planning to obtain 126 Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) and around 140 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) to compensate for the decline in regiment strength in the Indian Air Force, the report said.
To contact the editor, e-mail: