India Cuts Order of FGFA Fighter. F-35 on the Horizon?
Image Credit: Wikicommons

India Cuts Order of FGFA Fighter. F-35 on the Horizon?


Fresh tensions in Indo-Russian bilateral ties are bound to surface soon as India is set to cut its Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) order by one-third. India will now be inducting only 144 FGFA instead of the originally scheduled 214. The reduced purchase size could be to accommodate potential interest in the Lockheed Martin F-35A aircraft, which had earlier been rejected by both the Indian Air Force and the Defense Ministry. Both of these organizations have denied the F-35 rumors.

Significantly, all of the 144 FGFA India now intends to purchase will be single-seater jets. Earlier, the Indian Air Force planned to procure 214 units– 166 single-seaters and 48 twin-seaters.

According to sources, India’s decision to reduce the number of jets it will purchase was driven primarily by two overarching concerns: production delays and cost over-runs, both of which have been major irritants in Indo-Russian defense ties. The first prototype of the fighter jet is likely to be delivered to India in 2014, followed by additional planes in 2017 and 2019. Earlier, India expected to induct the jets into service sometime between 2017 and 2018. Recently Russia said the FGFA would not be delivered until 2020.

Still, the news of India’s reduced purchase is likely to irritate Russia and it will be worth closely watching how Moscow responds. Russia has already delayed President Vladimir Putin’s trip to India by seven weeks. Putin was initially scheduled to visit New Delhi from October 31 to November 1st, but will now arrive in the Indian Capital on December 24.

India's Hindustan Aeronatics Limited (HAL) is to build the FGFA, a derivative of the Sukhoi T-50, in India. India and Russia signed a 50:50 joint venture to build the aircraft in December 2011.

Rajeev Sharma is a New Delhi-based journalist-author who has been writing on international relations, foreign policy, strategic affairs, security and terrorism for over two decades. He is a regular contributor to The Diplomat's Indian Decade blog.

February 4, 2014 at 11:39

India will never buy the F35. It is the most spectacular failure in history. Just watch the documentary with interview of Mr. Pierre Spray who designed the F16 and A10. F-35 is useless against modern flankers and T50 jets. It will be mostly used in a ground attack role and for recon, once absolute air superiority is established by F22s, F15s and F16s. The only advantage it will have is modern electronics and sensor capabilities. It can relay data to other friendly jets and mark targets. This is useful. I have a feeling USAF will rely on drones in next few years. India should invest heavily in drone development with Israel’s partnership. Fighter jet development is an expensive affair.

January 27, 2014 at 04:06

time for china to step in!

k k pandey
January 19, 2014 at 19:51

I think it would be better to procure fgfa from both big powers to counter the challenges arises from China.

February 24, 2013 at 14:32

all foreign blackmailing india so please india wake up, and stand on your own feet.

February 17, 2013 at 01:48

sorry for the delayed response,,,,,,,,,have you ever visited india?do you know anything about our NEIGHBOURS?????google it before commenting something like this,,,,,,,,,,,,

February 10, 2013 at 04:58

India spends just enough to counter threats from Pakistan & China, nothing more than that. India's spending has been 2 to 2.3% of their GDP. If country grows at 7-9% then def buget will go high ofcourse. 
Talking about this fighter, PAK-FA is not a true 5th generation fighter yet, according to an HAL's observer it is 4.75 generation. That's why India is keep to build FGFA on it's terms in order to make it a true 5th generation fighter before they produce it in numbers. Actually none of the fifth  generation aircraft in present times is as convicing as F-16s & Mig-29s were in it's days.

February 4, 2013 at 20:53

How would the TSR2, suitably modernised, stack up against the opposition?
Don't you know that aircraft have been entirely replaced by missiles?

January 9, 2013 at 18:57

Why dont you mind your own business and let Indians build a country the way they want? Over the past 65 years, we've moved ahead into making a country which is free enough to express its anger, bold enough to admit its shortcomings, strong enough to carve out Bangladesh, and patient enough to tolerate an irritant like Pakistan.
If only you'd focus on making your hell-hole a better place, you and I could be discussing business over a beer. But you and your forefathers chose to make Taliban….and create miseries for the entire world!

December 13, 2012 at 07:47

Subhadeep, you're making the mistake of thinking that Ray and other pontificating idiots like him from "The West" are offering a genuine opinion out of some concern for India's "poor". They aren't. They are quite simply and primitively contemptuous of Indians (and non-whites in general) and, as a consequence of believing their own hype, think they should be allowed to rule the world in perpetuity as God's own chosen people while the rest of us "keep our place". Perceived poverty is just a tool they use to facilitate expression of this deep-rooted bigotry. Best to ignore them, such outbursts are only the death throes of an temporary, unnatural and inexorably deteriorating status.

November 28, 2012 at 17:43

Trusting wikipedia as your main source shows how credible  you are. Anything can be published on wikipedia.

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