India is one of the world’s largest MI-8 and MI-17 operators, with more than 100 rotorcraft in service.
A joint venture agreement for establishing a manufacturing facility for the Russian MI and Kamov helicopters in India also was signed by Elcom Systems Private Ltd. and OAO Vertoleti Rassi (JSC Helicopters, Russia).
“The proposed manufacturing facility in India between Elcom Systems and Russian Helicopters will serve as a base to manufacture rotorcraft products, and also implement offset projects under various defense contracts in India,” the defense official says.
Russia also has assured India that INS Vikramaditya, the refurbished 44,570-tonne Admiral Gorshkov for which $2.33 billion has been paid, will not be delayed beyond the latest revised delivery deadline of November 2013.
The agreements were signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s day-long visit to New Delhi to attend the 13th Russia-India summit.
“Russia is a key partner in our efforts to modernize our armed forces and enhance our defence preparedness. A number of joint design, development and production projects are underway in high technology areas. We expressed satisfaction that these projects are progressing well,” India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says.
India and Russia are likely to sign a multi-billion dollar contract soon for the design and joint development of a stealth fifth-generation fighter. The research and development contract is estimated to cost $11 billion, with the two countries expected to equally share the cost. India plans to acquire 214 of these fighter airplanes by the end of 2030 at an estimated cost of over $30 billion
“The two nations also discussed the progress made in the joint development and production of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft [FGFA],” the defense ministry official says.
The first FGFA prototype is expected to be delivered in 2014 and its production is likely to start in 2020 in India, he adds.
India in the last decade has diversified its military hardware procurement, especially toward the U.S., Israel, France and the U.K., due to commercial disagreements with Russia, and delayed delivery of weapons and spare parts.